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Sen. Barack Obama picked up two key states that Sen. John McCain was hoping to switch from blue to red.

The Democrat is projected to win Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes) and New Hampshire (4 electoral votes).

New Hampshire was the state that resuscitated McCain’s chances last year, and helped propel him to the Republican nomination. He also won the state’s primary in 2000 against President Bush.

The current electoral vote tally:

Obama: 103
McCain: 34

Source: WSJ

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Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, the only blue states that John McCain was targeting in the final week of the campaign have gone for Barack Obama, according to the exit poll consortium tasked with calling races for the television networks and major newspapers.

The Keystone State has long been coveted by Republicans who liked to point out in the runup to today’s vote that their party had closed the gap at the presidential level in each of the last four presidential elections.

The Obama campaign has remained resolutely confident about its Pennsylvania prospects, insisting that the massive surge in Democratic voter registration — the result of a high-profile presidential primary in the state — had made it nearly impossible for McCain to win.

Should Pennsylvania and New Hampshire fall into Obama’s column, they would join Democratic strongholds Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, which have already gone for the Illinois senator. (Oklahoma and Tennessee have been called for McCain.)

As the county by county results trickle in, watch to see how big a margin Obama takes out of the city of Philadelphia as well as the four suburban counties that ring the City of Brotherly Love.

New Hampshire had long expressed a warmth for McCain, launching his presidential bid during the 2000 primary season and saving it in the 2008 campaign. But, New Hampshire was the epicenter of anti-war (and anti-Bush Administration) sentiment in 2006 and in the closing weeks of this campaign even the most ardent McCain supporters had acknowledged the state would not go there way.

With Pennsylvania and New Hampshire now seemingly off the map, McCain must run a tricky gauntlet — winning a handful of states that Bush carried in 2004 but are closely contested this time around.

Make no mistake: McCain now has almost zero margin for error.

Source: Washington Post

img-bs-bottom-sarlin-mccains-mom_145111505480Says McCain’s mom no longer cares about election, and that McCain may die, but at least he’ll be president.

A grueling and bitter campaign has taken its toll on family morale, John McCain’s aunt, Rowena Willis, told The Daily Beast today in an exclusive interview.

According to the 96 year-old Willis, her twin sister, Roberta McCain, the candidate’s mother, has become resigned to her son’s electoral fate.

“She really doesn’t care,” Willis said of her 96-year old twin sister, who has campaigned for her son and recorded TV ads with him. “‘Let these bastards get in,’ she says, ‘I don’t give a damn anymore. If these people want to buy votes and get their people in office, let them suffer for it in the way of high taxes.’”

“I’m hoping he wins, for the country’s sake,” McCain’s aunt said. “I figure it will kill him, but he’s going to die one day anyway, so he might as well do it there.”

“I’m hoping he wins, for the country’s sake,” McCain’s aunt said. “I figure it will kill him, but he’s going to die one day anyway, so he might as well do it there.”

Willis has done her part for her nephew’s campaign, donating the maximum $2,300 to the candidate in June. Today she joined two nieces at 6:30 a.m. to go vote at a precinct on Larchmont Blvd. in Los Angeles, California, where she said turnout was unusually high.

“I waited an hour at least,” she said. “I’ve lived here 65 years and I’ve never seen lines like this.”

She said she had little patience for voters who complained about long lines at early voting stations that were open throughout the week in various states.

“I sat in line more than an hour today and I’m nearly 100. We should have one day of voting and if these people are too weak to vote, too bad,” she said.

In an interview earlier this month with The Daily Beast, Willis told me that McCain was losing. McCain’s mother told supporters at the time to “pray for a miracle,” and Willis said she was still praying for a victory for her beloved nephew, whom she described as “honest” and incorruptible.

“I sat in line more than an hour today and I’m nearly 100. We should have one day of voting and if these people are too weak to vote, too bad,” she said.

“I’m hoping he wins, for the country’s sake. I figure it will kill him, but he’s going to die one day anyway, so he might as well do it there,” she said, “But that man is honest—he has all the money in the world, he could do whatever he wants, even without his wife’s money, which he does not have; they keep it separate. He has a good pension from the Navy and my father was very rich.”

Sarah Palin also won high praise from Willis: “I think she’s marvelous. I don’t care how inexperienced she is or anything else—she’s been through a lot. She did vote against her party and she has cancelled a lot of those pork barrel requests in Alaska.”

As a mother of five, Willis said she was most concerned about how the election would impact the younger generations in her family.

“They will be broke with the Democrats in, with the number of people they will have to pay who have never paid a dollar of income tax in their life,” she said. “Our children will suffer.”

Source: The Daily Beast

I thought it was coincidental that as I visited the Daily Kos TV on youtube – the featured video above called Fox & Fantasy – had as it viewer number – 666. I in no way believe in this stuff – but I thought it was funny since the Evangelical Right have labeled Obama the anti-Christ. To see 666 beneath their obvious bull – was too good to pass up – Fox & Friends ~ 666 !!

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Even though every political and statistical indication points to an Obama victory tonight — and a healthy one at that — a certain brand of liberal paranoia persists. This is too good to be true, Democrats declare, fingers grasping at their hair. McCain is tightening the race in key states. The youth vote won’t come out.

And so it goes.

But if in fact McCain were to win this election it would be, one of the nation’s foremost pollster says, almost historically unprecedented.

“There is no reason in history to suggest [Obama won’t win],” said Frank Newport of Gallup. “All you can go by is history and compare our last polling that we have done before the election and the actual outcome in the presidential election… We have most polls showing Obama with a statistically significant lead nationally and also in these states. If he were to lose, it will be the first time since World War II something like this has happened. Now, keep in mind. It’s a small sample, less than 20 elections, but it would be very unusual, in fact, exceptional… improbable.”

Indeed, the last time that Gallup’s final poll before the election did not accurately determine the winning candidate was 1948, when they stopped polling a week before Harry Truman’s comeback victory against Thomas Dewey. Even in 1980, when Ronald Reagan staged a late comeback that turned into an electoral rout, Gallup caught glimmers of this trend just in time, showing the Gipper up three points in its last poll.

When it comes to the current election, the firm has Obama up eleven points in its final survey. But what should make Democrats more assured, said Newport, is that the Illinois Democrat has maintained a steady margin throughout the past month.

“Since September 15, Obama has been ahead in every poll we have conducted or any other polling I have seen and often by substantial margins,” he said. “It is not like it is race in which McCain was leading and we are seeing some kind of shift for Obama, it has been Obama ahead pretty dominantly.”

Moreover, other polling firms are documenting similar trends — a confluence of data that validates the larger picture.

“We are all using a measuring instrument to estimate a big population,” said Newport. “It is like we have a giant lake and we are trying to estimate the bacteria percentage. So we take a sample and test it and that is what we are doing. But yes… if you have 15 scientists and they are all showing the same thing, that does give you more assurance that the lake has some bacteria.”

There are, of course, Obama supporters who will remain unconvinced. And as evidence they could cite the polls leading up to the New Hampshire primary, which showed the Illinois Democrat in a similarly comfortable lead only to lose to Hillary Clinton by two points. Newport acknowledged that the primary fight in the Granite State gives him and others in the business pause — he has yet to find a smoking gun to explain what happened, though he hinted that massive late-stage change in voter preference moved too quickly for polls to pick up.

But that was, for better or worse, an aberration. Pressed to quantify just how big a failure for the polling industry a McCain victory would represent, he didn’t feel comfortable even following the hypothetical.

“Call me tomorrow,” he replied. “Obviously when Gallup and other scientific polling organizations do our best… and if for some reason the actual voting out there didn’t mirror, internally, what we were showing, it certainly would be a time where we would have to say, ‘What are we doing wrong?’… But we will cross that bridge if we get there. Right now, we aren’t crossing that bridge… It is improbable. But like I said, call me tomorrow.”

Source: HP

Hoping to beat the rush, voters flocked to the polls early this morning only to find parking lots already packed, turnout high and long lines already snaking around the block as scattered voting problems were reported in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

In Virginia, reported problems were widespread, according to reports gathered by the Election Protection Coalition, a cooperative effort by more than dozen voting rights groups.

Voters said they encountered broken touch-screen machines and paper jams in the scanners that are supposed to read the ballots at polling places in Richmond, Alexandria, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Vienna. Polling places in Virginia Beach were not opened at 6 a.m. when they were supposed to be.

“They harangue us to vote and then they don’t have the capacity to handle us when we show up,” said a man standing with a cane in a two-hour line in Fairfax, Va.

Virginia election officials said three polling places opened late because of what she called “human error.” In some cases, voters came in from the rain and failed to properly dry their hands before touching their ballots, fouling the optical scanning machines.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., some lines were stretching several hundred voters long by 7 a.m. In Philadelphia, lines were equally long and at one polling place on in the east side of the city several voting machines were not working because there was no extension cord available to help them reach the electrical outlet.

Despite the scattered problems, most people held on, steadfast in their passion to vote, undeterred by rain, sore feet or the long waits.

Voting experts predicted a record turnout of 130 million voters, which would be the highest percentage turnout in a century. It could shatter the previous record of 123.5 million who cast ballots four years ago. If 64 percent of registered voters make their way to the polls, as some predict, it would be the highest percentage since 1908.

Florida Secretary of State Kurt A. Browning said the 1992 record of 83 percent turnout could be surpassed in his state. Pennsylvania officials believe as many as 80 percent of the state 8.75 million votes will show up at the polls, a record.

Lines and other problems began well before Election Day.

By Monday night, Election Protection Coalition received calls about more than 700 early voters in West Creek Community Center in Kansas City, who waited more than eight hours to cast their ballots. Lines for early voters in Atlanta left people waiting for nearly ten hours.

There were also reports of underhanded tactics. Several callers from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland reported receiving automated phone calls with incorrect polling locations. Dozens of people in Colorado and New Jersey reported not receiving confirmation of their voter registrations or absentee ballots.

Yesterday alone, the hotline received more than 30,000 calls. Most were from voters in high population and swing states, including over 2,000 calls from Florida. The most common calls by far up until Election Day have been in regard to registration problems, followed by absentee ballot issues and polling place problems, which include extremely long lines.

Note: Video the Vote is a network of citizen journalists, independent filmmakers, and media professionals documenting voter problems at the polls. We will be posting links from them throughout the day.

thecaucus75

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In 14 national polls completed over the weekend, Barack Obama surpassed the 50-percent threshold in all but one, suggesting he is within striking distance of a feat no Democrat has accomplished since Jimmy Carter in 1976: winning a majority of the vote.

The one notable and slight outlier is IBD/TIPP; it estimates Obama’s likely margin at 48 to 43 percent.

Two of those pre-election national polls, which project the undecided vote, show Obama in a particularly commanding position. Gallup reports Obama winning 55 to 44 percent, while the Pew Research Center has him winning 52 to 46 percent.

Presidential elections, of course, are not national contests. Rather, the president is selected in 50 different state elections. Here is how the final polls look in 14 of the most competitive battlegrounds.

Arizona

An Arizona State University poll (Oct. 23-26) had McCain’s lead cut within the margin of error early last week, at 46 to 44 percent. About a month earlier, the poll had McCain leading by 7 points. In the summer, McCain was leading by double-digits in the same survey.

Polls completed Oct. 28 by NBC News/Mason-Dixon and CNN/Time had McCain ahead by 4 and 7 points, respectively. However, a poll completed Friday by Research 2000 measured the race as effectively tied, with McCain on top 48 to 47 percent.

Colorado

The most recent poll, conducted by FOX News/Rasmussen on Sunday, showed Obama ahead by 4 points, 51 to 47 percent—the survey’s same margin as one week earlier. The Denver Post/Mason-Dixon poll completed Friday and Saturday shows Obama ahead by 5 points, 49 to 44.

Florida

SurveyUSA’s final poll, completed Monday night, had Obama ahead 50 to 47 percent. The latest Reuters/Zogby poll, completed Sunday, shows Obama leading 48 to 46 percent— a statistical tie, as the poll showed one week earlier. Surveys by Quinnipiac University and Public Policy Polling, completed the same day, show the same 2-point margin. But in Sunday’s FOX News/Rasmussen poll McCain was up 50 to 49 percent, also a dead heat. One week ago, the FOX poll had McCain trailing by 4 points.

Georgia

Two polls completed over the weekend, by InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position and SurveyUSA, show widely varying margins. InAdvantage/Poll Position reported a statistical tie but SurveyUSA showed McCain ahead by 7 points. Strategic Vision’s most recent survey, completed Sunday shows the margin right in between, with McCain leading 50 to 46 percent.

Indiana

Last week’s Indianapolis Star/WTHR poll showed the two candidates statistically tied, with Obama at 46 and McCain at 45. But the Zogby poll competed Sunday has McCain ahead by 5 points, 49 to 44 percent—roughly the same margin it found the week earlier. SurveyUSA’s last poll completed Oct. 28 shows the race tied, while Rasmussen pegs McCain’s lead at 3 points.

Missouri

Polls conducted since Thursday by Rasmussen, SurveyUSA and Zogby show the race tied. An Oct. 29 Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll had McCain ahead by 3 points, 50 to 47 percent.

Montana

The most recent Rasmussen (Oct. 29) and Research 2000 (Oct. 28-30) polls show McCain ahead by 4 points. A Public Policy Polling survey completed Sunday had the race effectively tied, with 48-47 tilting to Obama’s favor.

Nevada

McCain has not held a lead in Nevada since mid-September. Sunday’s Reuters/Zogby poll showed Obama ahead 51 to 43 percent. A couple days earlier, the Las Vegas Review Journal/Mason-Dixon survey (Oct. 28-29) showed Obama leading by a slimmer 4-point margin, 47 to 43 percent, the same 4-point spread as Rasmussen’s Oct. 27 poll. The Reno Gazette-Journal poll, taken Oct. 25-28, puts Obama ahead by 5 points.

New Mexico

The last two SurveyUSA polls peg McCain down by 7 points. The latest, conducted Oct. 29-31, shows Obama leading 52 to 45 percent. Rasmussen’s Oct. 28 poll also showed Obama comfortably ahead, 54 to 44 percent.

North Carolina

In the past week several polls have shown McCain with the slightest lead, though always bobbing within the margin of error. Recent surveys by Rasmussen (Nov. 2), SurveyUSA (Oct. 30-Nov. 2), and Zogby (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) place McCain ahead by 1 point. Mason-Dixon (Oct. 29-30) pegs McCain ahead by 3, while the Oct. 29 Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll showed the state split evenly at 48.

North Dakota

A recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll (Oct. 28-29) showed McCain ahead 47 to 46 percent. The week earlier, the same survey showed the two candidates tied. In mid September, Research 2000 showed McCain ahead by 13 points.

Ohio

Sunday’s Rasmussen poll showed the race exactly tied, at 49 percent each. SurveyUSA’s poll, also completed Sunday, has Obama ahead 48 to 46 percent–a statistical tie. Another recent poll (Oct. 31-Nov. 2), by Strategic Vision, shows McCain ahead by a similar margin, 48 to 46 percent. However surveys by Zogby, Quinnipiac and the Ohio Poll, also taken over the same period, have Obama ahead by 6 or 7 points.

Pennsylvania

No public poll has shown McCain ahead in Pennsylvania in the general election. Still, four polls completed over the weekend show Obama ahead by 6 to 8 points–with Zogby the outlier, measuring a 14-point lead for the Democrat.

Virginia

McCain has not led in a public poll in the state since September. Two polls completed over the weekend, by SurveyUSA and Rasmussen, show Obama ahead by 4 points. In the same period, Zogby shows Obama ahead by 6 while Mason-Dixon estimates the Democrat’s lead at 3.

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Barack Obama saved his biggest Virginia rally for last — a jam-packed event in Manassas with 90,000 people reportedly in attendance. For his conclusion, he “reached back to the roots of his campaign to tell an inspirational story that had long ago fallen from his routine.”

    The story is about a long drive, a rainy day and how one person can make a difference. It was inspired by a woman he met during a visit to a small South Carolina town in 2007 and became a favorite during his Iowa caucus campaign.

    It ends with Obama leading a cheer of “Fired up, Ready to Go!”

Obama ended the event on Tuesday by telling the crowd: “In 21 hours, if you are willing to endure rainfall, to take the person who was not going to vote to the polls, if you will stand with me in a fight with me, I know that your voice will matter. I have one question for you, Virginia. Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? Fired up? Ready to go? Fired up! Ready to go! Virginia, let’s go change the world!”

::

Meanwhile, a fired-up John McCain told supporters to “be strong and fight” in an election eve rally Monday, his last before voters in swing state Nevada weigh in.

    “My opponent is measuring the drapes in the White House. They may not know it, but the Mac is back! And we’re going to win this election,” McCain said to the screaming crowd. “Don’t give up hope! Be strong and fight!”

    The Arizona senator’s evening rally at the Henderson Pavilion was the final leg of daylong, multistate campaign blitz. The candidate appeared surprised and energized by a crowd that greeted him with loud chants of “USA!” and “American hero!”

    More than 10,000 people attended the event, according to facility manager Dianne Mizelle. The number makes it McCain largest in the state to date.

Source: HP

One thing you could say about Karl Rove is that he is willing to face the truth ~ in this case pointing out the likely outcome of this election race.

On his website, Republican strategist Karl Rove writes:

    The final Rove & Co. electoral map of the 2008 election cycle points to a 338-200 Barack Obama electoral vote victory over John McCain tomorrow, the largest electoral margin since 1996.All remaining toss-up states have been allocated to the candidate leading in them, with Florida (27 EV) going to Obama, and Indiana (11 EV), Missouri (11 EV), North Carolina (15 EV), and North Dakota (3 EV) going to McCain.

    The two candidates are in a dead heat in Missouri and North Carolina, but they go to McCain because the most recent polls conducted over this past weekend show him narrowly ahead. Florida, too, could end up in McCain’s column since he’s benefited from recent movement in the state

    2008-11-04-mccainobamastate

Source: HP

fox-news-faux

Has Fox News become a fascist outlet for the GOP ??

The channel puts itself across as representing the views of the Heartland – and uses vicious attacks to make its point – anyone who doesn’t agree with their point of view is deemed unpatriotic. During this election they have come out with all barrels firing – wholeheartedly hashing and rehashing – any GOP/far-right talking points which they thought would take down the other guy and help their one – often without any real focus on the issues. But if they truly represent the views of the Heart of America – why then – even after all of their efforts – their candidates, Sarah Palin and John McCain are so far behind in the polls – and instead of being in a good position to win this election – the candidates they have worked tirelessly to promote – by any means – are poised to lose – short of a perfect storm which blows these pro-Obama polls in their favor? Shame on Fox News.

A Good Guy !!

A Good Guy !!

Fox News correspondent Major Garrett shot back in defense of Barack Obama against the network’s morning show’s effort to suggest that he has ignored Fox News throughout the campaign. In an internal email obtained by the Huffington Post, Garrett — who has been Fox News’ correspondent following the Obama campaign — took issue with a planned “Fox & Friends” segment about whether Obama will try to control the media, using “KICKED REPORTERS OFF PLANE, IGNORE FNC, BIDEN FL AV INTVIEW” as “examples he’s already done.”

“May I point out Obama has done 5 interviews with me and one with Chris Wallace, one with Brit Hume and one with Bill O’Reilly,” Garrett replied-all to a “Fox & Friends” producer’s email. “That’s 8 interviews. Would I like more? Yes. Would Chris Wallace? Yes. Would Brit and O’Reilly like more? Of course.”

The e-mail, which went to a significant portion of Fox News staff, continued, comparing Obama’s eight interviews with Fox News to the five Hillary Clinton gave the network.

“Just a note to add some real numbers and a grain of context,” Garrett said. “Apologies if I left out any other big interview of Obama [or] Clinton on our network.”

The planned guest, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, did appear but the segment was retooled to discuss the media coverage of Obama’s remarks on the coal industry.

Read the full e-mail below:

—–Original Message—–

From: Garrett, Major
Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2008 9:23 PM
To: [redacted]
Subject: Re: F & F Guests, November 3, 2008

In the context of the 6:15 am B Block “IGNORE FNC” segment, may I point out Obama has done 5 interviews with me and one with Chris Wallace, one with Brit Hume and one with Bill O’Reilly. That’s 8 interviews. Would I like more? Yes. Would Chris Wallace? Yes. Would Brit and O’Reilly like more? Of course.

But it’s still 8 interviews with FNC in this campaign. By comparison, my count is the Hillary Clinton did 5 FNC interviews with FNC during the campaign: 3 with me, one with Chris Wallace and one with O’Reilly. This does not count morning round-robins done during the primaries as those tend not to have any selectivity to them.

Just a note to add some real numbers and a grain of context. Apologies if I left out any other big interview of Obama of Clinton on our network.

MG
Major Garrett
Fox News

—– Original Message —–
From: [redacted]
To: [redacted]
Sent: Sun Nov 02 19:59:31 2008
Subject: F & F Guests, November 3, 2008

FOX & FRIENDS GUESTS FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2008 – 1 DAY UNTIL THE
ELECTION!
*** 5AM START!!!! ***

5:00 (A-BLOCK) COLD OPEN // QUICK TEASE

// News HEADLINES // TALKING POINTS

———————-
5:15 (B-BLOCK) – 2 STORIES ((ANCHOR))
&
JUAN WILLIAMS, POLITICAL ANALYST & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR & JAMES T.
HARRIS, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST ((BOTH GUESTS ON SET))
TOPIC: OBAMA’S NEW ATTACK ON THOSE WHO DON’T WANT HIGHER TAXES,
“SELFISHNESS”
———————-
5:22 (C-BLOCK) – 2 STORIES ((ANCHOR))

& CARRYOVER W/ JUAN & JAMES – TOPIC 2 – THE ABILITY TO LOWER TAXES
WORKED FOR IRELAND, WHY WOULDN’T IT WORK FOR US? ((BOTH GUESTS ON SET))
(
———————-
5:29 (D-BLOCK) – BUMP-IN – TBD

// News HEADLINES – INCLUDE WX // TALKING POINTS // SPORTS

PKG HOW WE GOT HERE: OBAMA ((PKG TRT: 3:22 OC: (music sting)))
———————-
5:45 (E-BLOCK) – MINI NEWS ((ANCHOR))

&
PKG HOW WE GOT HERE: MCCAIN ((PKG 3:20: , OC: (music sting)))
———————-
5:52 (F-BLOCK) – JOHN FUND – TOPIC – VOTING ISSUES – EARLY VOTING – IS
IT A GOOD THING? OR IS IT CREATING MORE PROBLEMS? ((NY STUDIO))
====================================================================
5:59 (A-BLOCK) COLD OPEN // QUICK TEASE

// News HEADLINES // TALKING POINTS

———————-
6:15 (B-BLOCK) – 2 STORIES ((ANCHOR))

& BRENT BOZELL- WILL OBAMA TRY TO CONTROL THE MEDIA? EXAMPLES HE’S
ALREADY DONE- KICKED REPORTERS OFF PLANE, IGNORE FNC, BIDEN FL AV
INTVIEW, ((DC BUREAU))
———————-
6:22 (C-BLOCK) – POP UP POLITICS ((ANCHOR))

& CARRYOVER (MUST CARRY OVER BRENT BOZELL) ((DC BUREAU))
>> BDAY IN TEASE

———————-
6:29 (D-BLOCK) – BUMP-IN – TBD

// News HEADLINES – INCLUDE WX // TALKING POINTS // SPORTS

6D – RICK BURGESS & BUBBA BUSSEY: RADIO HOSTS “RICK & BUBBA SHOW” LIVE
FROM THEIR STUDIO– WHAT ARE THEY HEARING? – INCL OBAMA’S “SELFISHNESS”
SOT ((BIRMINGHAM))

———————-
6:45 (E-BLOCK) – MINI NEWS ((ANCHOR))
&
DAVID FREDOSSO – TOPIC: THE CHICAGO MACHINE – POLITICS OBAMA IS USED TO
VS POLITICS OF WASHINGTON
((DC BUREAU))
———————-
6:52 (F-BLOCK) – PETER JOHNSON JR – TOPIC – THE CANDIDATES ON HEALTH
CARE ((ON SET))

====================================================================
6:59 (A-BLOCK) COLD OPEN // QUICK TEASE

// News HEADLINES – INCLUDE WX // TALKING POINTS

———————-
7:15 (B-BLOCK) – MITT ROMNEY – TOPIC – NEWS OF THE DAY ((TOLEDO))
POOL SCHEDULE
6:30 NBC pretape
6:40 ABC pretape
6:54 CNN live
7:05 CBS live
7:15 Fox live
7:35 MSNBC live

———————-
7:22 (C-BLOCK) – GERALDINE FERRARO, FORMER DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL
NOMINEE & & RICH LOWRY EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW TOPIC –

———————-
7:29 (D-BLOCK) BUMP IN – TBD

// News HEADLINES – INCLUDE WX & SPORTS // TALKING POINTS

7D – SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D-MO) NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, OBAMA CAMPAIGN
TOPIC – NEWS OF THE DAY ((KANSAS CITY, MO))

———————-
7:45 (E-BLOCK) – THIS DAY IN HISTORY ((ANCHOR))

& STEPHEN MOORE, WSJ -SENIOR ECONOMIC WRITER – TOPIC: HOW IRELAND’S TAX
CUTS HELPED THEIR ECONOMY ((DC BUREAU))
———————-
7:52 (F-BLOCK) – PETER JOHNSON JR – VOTER FRAUD – THINGS THAT CAN GO
WRONG DURING VOTING, OR ON ELEX DAY (BASED ON TIME MAG ARTICLE) ((ON
SET))

====================================================================
7:59 (A-BLOCK) // COLD OPEN // QUICK TEASE

// News HEADLINES – INCLUDE WX // TALKING POINTS
8A – KARL ROVE, FORMER CHIEF POLITICAL STRATEGIST TO PRESIDENT BUSH –
TOPIC PRE-ELECTION POLLS – IS THE RACE TIGHTENING? ((IN STUDIO))
———————-

8:15 (B-BLOCK) – JOHN BOLTON, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN – THE EARLY
TESTS FROM ABROAD ((DALLAS BUREAU))
———————-
8:22 (C-BLOCK) – MINI NEWS

& – JOE THE PLUMBER – TOPIC -PLUNDERING THE PLUMBER’S RECORDS (HER
COLUMN FROM 10/31) – WASH POST ARTICLE TODAY “The Wurzelbacher Effect” –
ANOTHER MEDIA ATTACK ON JOE. ((ON SET))

———————-
8:29 (D-BLOCK) – BUMP IN – TBD

// News HEADLINES – INCLUDE WX // TALKING POINTS // SPORTS
>> PULL SOT FROM JOE’S 8C INTV?
MICHELLE MALKIN – MICHELLEMALKIN.COM – TOPIC -PLUNDERING THE PLUMBER’S
RECORDS (HER COLUMN FROM 10/31) – WASH POST ARTICLE SUNDAY “THE
WURZELBACHER EFFECT” – ANOTHER MEDIA ATTACK ON JOE. ((DENVER BUREAU))

& ———————-

8:45 (E-BLOCK) – LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER – FMR SECY OF STATE UNDER GEORGE
H.W. BUSH, ALSO SERVED UNDER NIXON, REAGAN & CARTER ADMINISTRATIONS AND
IS A MCCAIN SUPPORTER ((CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA)) – WHICH CANDIDATE HAS
BETTER FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE?

———————-
8:52 (F-BLOCK) – DAN GAINOR, BUSINESS & MEDIA INSTITUTE. TOPIC: AMERICA
2012: FACTS ABOUT WHAT THE NEXT PRESIDENT’S FIRST TERM WILL DO TO
ENERGY, HEALTH CARE AND YOUR WALLET VS WHAT THE MEDIA HAS TOLD YOU
((DC BUREAU))

———————-
8:58 (G-BLOCK) – GOODBYE

**POST TAPE**
MOTHER OF ANCHORMAN ANNE PRESSLY ((ON SET))
========================================================================
====
REMOTES:

JIM ANGLE, UNSURE ABOUT STARTING TIME

STEVE BROWN FROM OHIO, STARTING AT 7AM

PETER BARNES ON THE ELECTION

Source: HP

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Dixville Notch residents wait for the stoke of midnight to be the first voters for the nation’s presidential election in Dixville Notch, N.H. Tuesday Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. — Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, N.H., where tradition of having the first Election Day ballots tallied lives on.

Democrat Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, where a loud whoop accompanied the announcement in Tuesday’s first minutes. The town of Hart’s Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Independent Ralph Nader was on both towns’ ballots but got no votes.

“I’m not going to say I wasn’t surprised,” said Obama supporter Tanner Nelson Tillotson, whose name was drawn from a bowl to make him Dixville Notch’s first voter.

With 115 residents between them, Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location get every eligible voter to the polls beginning at midnight on Election Day. Between them, the towns have been enjoying their first-vote status since 1948.

obama-wins-dixville-notch Being first means something to residents of the Granite State, home of the nation’s earliest presidential primary and the central focus _ however briefly _ of the vote-watching nation’s attention every four years.

Town Clerk Rick Erwin said Dixville Notch is proud of its tradition, but added, “The most important thing is that we exemplify a 100 percent vote.”

Dixville Notch resident Peter Johnson said the early bird electoral exercise “is fun.” A former naval aviator, Johnson said he was voting for McCain, but added, “I think both candidates are excellent people.”

Voting was carried out in a room in a local hotel festooned with political memorabilia from campaigns long past. Each voter gets an individual booth so there are no lines at the magic hour. The votes were quickly counted, announced and recorded on a posterboard that proclaims, “First in the Nation, Dixville Notch.”

The tradition drew spectators, including Tim McKenna, who drove with his wife 16 miles from Cambridge, N.H., to witness the event.

“Living in New Hampshire, you hear so much about it in the news,” said McKenna. “I think it’s a very historic election this year.”

Ed Butler, a Democratic state representative who runs the Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location, said, “Being this small and being able to be first just makes it that much more special.”

Although scores of states have voted early, the two villages are the first to officially announce the results on Election Day.

New Hampshire law requires polls to open at 11 a.m., but that doesn’t stop towns from opening earlier. It also allows towns to close their polls once all registered and eligible voters have cast ballots.

Hart’s Location started opening its polls early in 1948, the year Harry S. Truman beat Thomas Dewey, to accommodate railroad workers who had to get to work early. Hart’s Location got out of the early voting business in 1964 after some residents grew weary of all the publicity, but brought it back in 1996.

Dixville Notch, nestled in a mountain pass 1,800 feet up and about halfway between the White Mountain National Forest and the Canadian border, followed suit in 1960, when John F. Kennedy beat Richard M. Nixon. Nixon, the Republican, swept all nine votes cast in Dixville that year, and before Tuesday, the town had gone for a Democrat only once since then. That was in 1968, when the tally was Democrat Hubert Humphrey eight, Nixon four.

Source: AP

barack_obama_by_zeushadesposeidon

In Senator Obama’s opinion it appears the arts have become essential to reengage our standing in the world. According to an article in Bloomberg, he is the first White House contender to include a far- reaching arts-plank in his platform. Quoting Robert Lynch, president and chief executive officer of “Americans for the Arts” a highly respected Washington based arts advocacy group, “no presidential candidate in recent times has addressed cultural issues in such detail.” As early as the spring of 2007 Obama brought together a committee of arts and arts professionals including such luminaries as Hollywood producer George Stevens, novelist Michael Chabon, Broadway director Hal Prince, Museum of Modern Art president emerita Agnes Gund, to focus on this issue.

By contrast the article advises that John McCain has consistently voted for cuts in the National Endowment for the Arts (the NEA) budget, saying that funding for the arts is a local matter.

Art from zeushadesposeidon), with thanks to Full Body Transplant, Article HP

TAMPA, Fla. — Barack Obama radiated confidence and John McCain displayed the grit of an underdog Monday as the presidential rivals reached for the finish line of a two-year marathon with a burst of campaigning across battlegrounds from the Atlantic Coast to Arizona.

“We are one day away from change in America,” said Obama, a Democrat seeking to become the first black president _ a dream not nearly as distant on election eve as it once was.

McCain, too, promised to turn the page of the era of George W. Bush, and he warned about his opponent’s intentions. “Sen. Obama is in the far left lane” of politics, he said. “He’s more liberal than a guy who calls himself a Socialist and that’s not easy.”

Republican running mate Sarah Palin was even more pointed as she campaigned in Ohio. “Now is not the time to experiment with socialism,” she said. “Our opponent’s plan is just for bigger government.”

Late-season attacks aside, Obama led in virtually all the pre-election polls in a race where economic concerns dominated and the war in Iraq was pushed _ however temporarily _ into the background.

Early voting, more than 29 million ballots cast in 30 states, suggested an advantage for Obama as well. Official statistics showed Democrats who have already voted outnumbered Republicans in North Carolina, Colorado, Florida and Iowa, all of which went for President Bush in 2004.

Democrats also anticipated gains in the House and in the Senate, although Republicans battled to hold their losses to a minimum and a significant number of races were rated as tossups in the campaign’s final hours.

By their near-non-stop attention to states that voted Republican in 2004, both Obama and McCain acknowledged the Democrats’ advantage in the presidential race.

The two rivals both began their days in Florida, a traditionally Republican state with 27 electoral votes where polls make it close.

Obama drew 9,000 or so at a rally in Jacksonville, while across the state, a crowd estimated at roughly 1,000 turned out for McCain.

One day before the election, no battleground state was left unattended.

Source: AP

College students on the NAACP’s ‘Vote Hard’ bus tour encourage people to vote in the George Washington Carver Homes housing project in Selma, Ala.

WASHINGTON — The national and state Democratic parties are spending far more heavily than their Republican counterparts on field operations, after years of ceding the advantage in ground-level organizing to the Republican voter-turnout machine.

Finance records show Democrats have hired five to 10 times more paid field staff in swing states than the Republicans.

Democrats have set up 770 offices nationwide, including in some of the most Republican areas of traditionally “red” states — like one in Goshen, Ind., a manufacturing town with a population of about 30,000. It is the seat of Elkhart County, which voted for President George W. Bush in 2004 by more than 40 percentage points. By comparison, Republicans have about 370 offices nationwide.

The focus on the ground-game is a change from past election cycles, when the Democratic party’s prime objective was getting as many broadcast ads on the air as possible. In recent campaigns, Democrats outsourced their ground organization to outside groups, such as labor unions and liberal activists.

The year’s change is made possible by Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s historic fundraising. His campaign is doing its own advertising, taking that pricey burden off the parties. Campaign-finance data show the Democratic Party has essentially ceded television advertising to Sen. Obama’s campaign. In 2004, the Democratic Party spent nearly $120 million on advertising in support of then-nominee John Kerry, compared to only $500,000 this fall.

And the Obama campaign also is pouring money into state-party budgets. The senator’s presidential campaign along with the Democratic National Committee have put at least $112 million into state parties in recent months, a review of campaign-finance filings shows. They have poured $6 million into both North Carolina and Virginia and even sent $1.8 million into Montana — nearly two dollars for every resident of that state.

We really feel that this election is going to come down to our ground organization and what happens in the final days of the campaign,” said Jen O’Malley, the Obama campaign’s battleground-states director.

Four years ago, the party’s get-out-the-vote effort was largely run by an independent group named America Coming Together, or ACT, which was financed with $164 million from rich liberals but legally prevented from coordinating with their candidate. The group was criticized by some Democrats for not reaching deep enough into the outer suburbs and rural areas, where Republicans were victorious. ACT was also legally restricted when it came to mentioning candidates, and was fined $775,000 after allegedly attacking President Bush in its voter drives.

Republicans say their volunteer-based turnout machinery from 2004 is intact and more than twice as productive as last cycle in making phone calls and house calls. “This operation is working on all eight cylinders,” said Rich Beeson, the political director of the Republican National Committee and a veteran of the 2004 effort. “It’s doing what it was designed to do.” The party has been honing the same model for eight years, developing veteran volunteers who often work full-time without pay.

Republican spending on field staff has grown just slightly since 2004, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis covering reports from the presidential campaigns, as well as national and state parties. The GOP spent an estimated $22 million on personnel from June 1 to Oct. 15, compared to $19 million over the same period in 2004.

Democrats have increased their staff expenditures from $30 million to $56 million — and they employed an estimated 4,500 workers making more than $1,500 a month as of mid-October, the latest information available. Sen. McCain and the Republicans had about 1,100 at that point.

The expansion was made possible by Sen. Obama’s decision to decline public financing for his campaign, freeing himself from its spending caps. Instead he has relied on the legions of supporters who have already contributed over $600 million.

Sen. McCain is limited to spending the $84.1 million he accepted from the government after his September nomination. Sen. Obama is on track to spend more on television advertising than any candidate in history, likely spending more than $100 million on ads in October alone.

Source: WSJ

CNN

MIAMI (AP) — With two days remaining until Election Day, Jay-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs told voters in South Florida not to be scared away from the polls by long lines.

“It’s bigger than us,” Combs said. “We have to do it for our children, we have to do it for the people that died for us to have the right to vote.”

Combs and Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, appeared before a crowd of about 800 at the Chester Robinson Athletic Center at Florida Memorial University for a “Last Chance for Change” rally Sunday afternoon.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, music executive Kevin Liles and fellow recording artist Mary J. Blige also joined them at the get-out-the-vote effort for Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

“We stood in line to get the new Lil’ Wayne CD,” Liles said. “We stood in line to get a new pair of Jordans. We stood in line to get in here. So we ain’t afraid of no lines.”

The event was more of a campaign rally than hip-hop extravaganza. None of the artists actually performed on stage, instead using their time to stump for the Democratic nominee. A DJ played as the crowd waited for the group to arrive, and a gospel choir and college step teams also performed.

“We have been doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” Blige said. “Please do something different. Barack Obama is a true example of something different. He’s a true example of something our children can have in the future, what they can look at and say: ‘Wow, we can really, really do something. We can really, really be something.'”

When an announcer asked if anyone in the crowd had already voted, several attendees threw their hands in the air, waved blue campaign signs and screamed.

More than 2 million of Florida’s 11.2 million registered voters had already cast their ballots by Sunday morning, according to the state Division of Elections Web site. As of Saturday in Miami-Dade County, more than 300,000 had gone to the polls, according to county statistics. Early voting in the state ended Sunday.

Combs, who bounced on stage wearing an Obama T-shirt and sunglasses, has long worked to increase young voter turnout. Four years ago, he was part of the “Vote or Die” campaign and launched the nonpartisan group Citizen Change.

“I think we just really reinforced what they already knew,” Jay-Z said after the event. “It energized them.”

One attendee, 36-year-old Rebecca Vaughns, said Election Day would be especially sweet for her. The Miami resident, who was wearing a black Obama T-shirt and had a likeness of the nominee shaved in the back of her head, said she had been saving a giant chocolate “O” in her freezer for months, waiting for Nov. 4.

“It’s not about black or white,” Vaughn’s said, “It’s about the fact that this country is in a hole.”

Fort Lauderdale resident Joyce Downing, 53, sat in the back of the stuffy arena before the rally started, wearing a red Obama T-shirt. Downing said she waited five hours a week ago to vote in an election she called an “awakening.”

“Although I’ve voted as long as I’ve been eligible, this is the most exciting election I’ve been able to participate in,” she said.

Source: AP


Darth Cheney appeared our of the darkness of his undisclosed location – to endorse the new Sith Lord McCain who he hoped would be his loyal successor and work to expand the Dark Empire he worked hard to create.

Looking out onto the Kingdom Sith McCain and Darth Cheney – the two agreed that his Empire should continue – under the directive of the war without end doctrine – in order to bring all the known world and its important resources under their control ~ nothing they thought could stop them now.

There were no limitations on their desire for power and control by – war baby war – success was at hand. But their plan was missing one thing they had to unite the world, around their dark vision and they needed one person – an Obama Skywalker.

Meantime dark ideas had already infiltrated the Senate – and the plan to take it over and to undermine democracy – in the name of restoring order and maintaining security was complete.

The very powers of the Senate – through deception – were used to steal democracy. And no one could stop it.

And a new power – the power of the dark side – was soon unleashed.

The world looked very different as there would be no peace for 100 years.

All was well in the outer-lands – but little known to Obama Skywalker – he was about to enter the battle and restore order to the force. His first encounter with the Dark Lord McCain was at hand – after his home was destroyed – he began his Jedi training.

Trust your feelings Barack, said his sage trainer – in the ways of the force.

As the Emperor’s forces drew closer and destruction seemed complete Obama Skywalker went into training with one of the greatest sages of all.

Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.

Obama learned that the restoration of the good side of the force lay with him.

Later in the cave – Obama Skywalker was tested. 

Will he finish what he begins?”
“I won’t fail you. I’m not afraid.”
“Oh, you will be. You will be.

Sith McCain was so confident in his vision – he tried to get in Barack the Jedi to join with him on the dark side.  

Lord McCain said something like ‘ I am your father ‘

Naturally Obama Skywalker said that this was impossible and that he would never join him – that he would never move to the dark side. And the fight for Skywalker’s surrender began.

Realizing that the force was strong with Obama Skywalker and he would be a threat to the Empire – if he would not come over to the dark side – Darth Cheney – sought to teach – this insignificant one – a lesson.

In the end with his last shred of humanity, seeing that his own son would be destroyed, he took on Darth Cheney and saved Obama Skywalker, saying something like ‘ tell the voters you were right ‘ ‘ you were right.’ 

Once order was restored – there was music and celebrations throughout all the lands – as the battle for the good and the betterment of mankind and over the dark side’s war without end for control of power and resourses – had been won.

Sarah Palin says she’ll be back! Will she try to wink and charm her way to the White House again? And what happened to that Alaskan separatist group her and husband Todd had links to – their old AIP friends must feel totally betrayed by her new moose ambition.
“I want to make sure she’s holding on to that Sarah outfit. Because she’s gonna need it in the next four years.”

– Gov. Sarah Palin offering “a little advice to Tina Fey” as quoted in The New York Times’ The Caucus blog. Clearly, Palin’s suggesting she plans to remain active on the national stage and, we imagine, as a late-night comedy figure.

See Sen. John McCain on SNL here, and Ben Affleck’s Keith Olbermann show from the same episode here.

Source: E! Online

On Saturday Night Live, as in campaign rallies, John McCain gets outdrawn by Sarah Palin.

Last night’s show, featuring a QVC-pitching McCain, pulled a 9.0 rating in the overnight ratings, per Nielsen stats, about 15 percent off last month’s Palin-powered SNL.

Overall, the McCain show was another winner for SNL, which saw the combination of the presidential candidate, wife Cindy McCain, faux running mate Tina Fey (as, natch, Palin) and host Ben Affleck (as Keith Olbermann, among others) boost ratings 27 percent over last week’s show.

Total viewer figures were not available, although, using last week’s numbers as a guide, a guess could be made that as many as 12 million tuned in. (About 14 million watched the Palin SNL.)

For the season, SNL is up nearly 70 percent over last season.

Source: E! Online

So Joe Plumber does the thinking – now?

McCain nor Palin would say directly Obama is a socialist – but they will say Joe the Plumber said Obama’s tax plan ‘sounds like’ socialism. Cleverly manipulating their masses to think any way they want them to.

Fooled.
Controlled.

A few weeks ago Obama was a terrorist [palling around with] – now we have moved from this smear to the Socialist/Marxist one – something that McCain nor Palin would be draw to state outright. They just need people to think – it.

All this so the corporations can have a tax cut – instead of cutting taxes for the good people in McCain’s audience –  who will leaving his speeches believing that a tax cut for corporations – making record profits [Exxon $14.5bn/3 months] is good for them and a tax cut for their own families – is socialist, country destroying and bad for them.

Exxon Mobil gets a tax cut – but Joe Plumber gets naught. Under Bill Clinton with the Obama tax raise for the wealthiest 5% – the economy expanded more than it has ever done in US history. While both Bush’s brought us economic turmoil an – new debt clocks – as the debt spirals out of control each time they were in power – where Clinton left us with a surplus.

 

 

Talk about running up the score. Florida now looms as the Democratic firewall on Election Day. Thanks to the disproportionate effect of the economic crisis on the Sunshine State, Republicans are in danger of losing the one state that could block any chances for an Electoral College victory.

I firmly believe that Florida is the most representative of the nation as a whole. Presidents are more successful if they win Florida. I am impressed and moved that Barack Obama seems to understand Florida’s significance — for winning and for governing.

There is perhaps no better indicator for the outcome of this presidential election than how Obama is pinning down John McCain in Florida. A few facts, courtesy of the Arizona Republic:

  • Six of Florida’s metropolitan areas ranked in the nation’s 20 worst for foreclosures in the second quarter. Broward and Miami-Dade counties had 10,000 foreclosures last month alone.
  • In 2004, Democrat John Kerry had 14 offices and about 100 paid staffers in Florida. This year, Obama has 60 offices and about 500 paid staffers.
  • From May to September, McCain led in 25 of the 41 polls taken in Florida, with four ties. But since October, Obama has led in 11 of the 14 Florida polls, with seven of them outside the margin of error.
  • From Oct. 6 to Sunday, McCain ran 5,702 TV ads in Florida’s largest markets, according to Nielsen Media Research. In the same period, Obama ran 18,909 TV ads.
  • As he has in most states, Obama has outraised McCain in campaign contributions in Florida. But the $3 million margin, $17 million to $14 million, is among the smallest in the swing states.
  • Florida has voted for a Democrat only once since 1980. President George W. Bush won the state by 381,000 votes four years ago.
  • For decades, Democrats have led in voter registrations in Florida. This year, they have 650,000 more registered voters than Republicans do. That margin is nearly double the margin the party had in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
  • About a quarter of all the state’s voters are in southeastern Florida, in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Democrats, who have a nearly 600,000-voter edge there, must win big to offset the many Republican-leaning counties elsewhere.
  • Of the 1.2 million voters who have voted early so far, 640,000 of them are registered Democrats, compared with 361,000 registered Republicans. Historically, the GOP has led in early and absentee voting.

Source: CQPolitics

Fmr. Reagan Chief-Of-Staff Slams McCain For Picking Palin

McCain Thinks Palin Is America’s Top Energy Expert

McCain’s Crazy Laughter: Viva La Barracuda!

Source: DailyKosTV

Obama’s White Burden in Virginia

Source: CQ Politics

WASHINGTON – In the final weekend of a long race for the White House, Barack Obama promised to heal America’s political divisions while rival John McCain fought to hold on to Republican-leaning states and pledged to score an upset.

For Obama, buoyed by record campaign donations and encouraging poll numbers, it was a time for soaring rhetoric and forays into Republican territory. “We have a righteous wind at our back,” the Democrat said Saturday.

McCain saw the weekend as a final opportunity to persuade voters to prove the polls and pundits wrong and sweep him into office.

“We’re a few points down but we’re coming back,” he told supporters in Virginia.

Obama campaigned Saturday in Nevada, Colorado and Missouri, all states that voted for President Bush four years ago, while McCain struggled to keep Virginia from voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1964.

McCain also made a quick sidetrip to New York City and an appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” where he joked about his campaign and his latest plan to win over voters.

“I thought I might try a strategy called the reverse maverick. That’s where I’d do whatever anybody tells me,” McCain said. If that failed, he quipped, “I’d go to the double maverick. I’d just go totally berserk and freak everybody out.”

Both men appealed to supporters to turn out on Election Day, saying the stakes could scarcely be higher.

“If you give me your vote on Tuesday, we won’t just win this election — together, we will change this country and change the world,” Obama said in a nationwide Democratic radio address.

Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed McCain, saying Americans “cannot afford the high tax liberalism of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”

Obama, campaigning in Colorado, pounced on the remark, saying McCain had earned the endorsement through supporting the Bush administration’s failed social and economic policies.

“Bush and Cheney have dug a deep hole,” Obama said. “Now they’re trying to hand the shovel to McCain.”

An Associated Press-Yahoo News national poll of likely voters showed Obama ahead, 51 to 43, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. McCain’s campaign says its internal polling shows the gap closing.

John McCain poked fun at his presidential campaign’s financial shortcomings in an appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” He appeared on the show with Tina Fey reprising her memorable impersonation of Sarah Palin. (Nov. 2) AP

At a Mac Kain rally Arnie says he wants to get some meat on Obama’s bones. He also offered to put some muscle on Obama’s ideas (cough). After the muscle jokes – he went on the Mac Kain talking points attack-of-the-week – which was that Obama or his plan to raise taxes on the top 5% was socialist – and although he had to put up tax in his State of Kalifornia – that was different – because when he was a young man he left his socialist leaning country Austria for the US Land of the Free (via Britain?) —
but what he might have said – forget about the fact that the US government now owns the banks, has ploughed $700bn to prop up Wall Street – but giving that little guy – the poor and middle class worker a measly tax break – is wrong and socialist. Those poor people should be made to stand up on their own two feet – no help from government with their lives – aahh.. and what about the help given to the banks and Wall Street and those tax cuts for Exxon Mobil and other corporations under the Mac Kain plan? 

In support of Mac Kain’s theories ( or was that Joe the Plumber’s theories) Arnie talked about his old country being somewhat socialist – so lets have a look at Arnie’s old country Austria and compare it to the US Land of the Free – to see how things turned out.

Conclusion: below (look out for per capita income)

::

The Alt Country – Austria

Type:

    Federal parliamentary democracy.

Constitution:

    1920; revised 1929 (reinstated May 1, 1945).

Branches:

    Executive–federal president (chief of state), chancellor (head of government), cabinet. Legislative–bicameral Federal Assembly (Parliament). Judicial–Constitutional Court, Administrative Court, Supreme Court.

Political parties:

    Social Democratic Party, People’s Party, Freedom Party, Greens, Alliance–Future-Austria.

Suffrage:

    Universal over 16 (reduced from 18 in 2007).

Administrative subdivisions:

    Nine Bundeslander (federal states).

Defense (2007):

    0.8% of GDP.

Economy
GDP (2007):

    $373.6 billion.

Real GDP growth rate (2007):

    3.4%.

Per capita income (2007):

    $44,890.

Natural resources:

    Iron ore, crude oil, natural gas, timber, tungsten, magnesite, lignite, cement.

Agriculture (1.9% of 2007 GDP):

    Products–livestock, forest products, grains, sugarbeets, potatoes.

Industry (31.2% of 2007 GDP):

    Types–iron and steel, chemicals, capital equipment, consumer goods.

Services:

    66.9% of 2007 GDP.

Trade (2007):

    Exports–$156.4 billion: iron and steel products, timber, paper, textiles, electrotechnical machinery, chemical products, foodstuffs.

Imports–$155.9 billion:

    machinery, vehicles, chemicals, iron and steel, metal goods, fuels, raw materials, foodstuffs. Principal trade partners–European Union, Switzerland, U.S., and China.

Data: US State Dept

::

The Neu Country – The U.S.A Land of Opportunity and a great Movie Industry 

GDP (purchasing power parity):

    $13.78 trillion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

    $13.84 trillion (2007 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:

    2% (2007 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):

    $45,800 (2007 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:

    agriculture: 1.2%
    industry: 19.8%
    services: 79% (2007 est.)

Labor force:

    153.1 million (includes unemployed) (2007 est.)

Labor force – by occupation:

    farming, forestry, and fishing 0.6%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.6%, managerial, professional, and technical 35.5%, sales and office 24.8%, other services 16.5%

The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $46,000. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products.

US Data: CIA Factbook

::

Conclusion: You are sooo much better off in the U.S. as the average person makes $910 more per year than they do in Austria – where things are really bad – because they have socialist policies. Those poor Austrians!

Compare this to the income / person in Mexico:  $12,400 (2007 est.)

Or per capita income of Canada: $38,600 (2007 est.)

What is Arnie talking about !!

It’s the politics of fear.

Now I feel a`little sorry for Sa`rah !!

Watch out Tina– guess you’re not the only one who resembles Sarah Palin. It looks like the VP candidate was all over the country last night– participating in everything from parades, to office parties to trick-or-treating. Take a look at Halloween’s most impressive Sarah Palin costumes.




Caption: 23/6, Article Observer


“The greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.”

 

So says psychology professor Robert Altemeyer, who provided Wateregate whistle-blower John Dean with forty years of study on the authoritarian personality type that roughly 28 percent of Americans proudly call their modus operandi.

John Dean:

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican candidates, have shown themselves to be unapologetic and archetypical authoritarian conservatives. Indeed, their campaign has warmed the hearts of fellow authoritarians, who applaud them for their negativity, nastiness, and dishonest ploys, and only criticize them for not offering more of the same.The McCain/Palin campaign has assumed a typical authoritarian posture: The candidates provide no true, specific proposals to address America’s needs. Rather, they simply ask voters to “trust us” and suggest that their opponents – Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden – are not “real Americans” like McCain, Palin, and the voters they are seeking to court. Accordingly, McCain and Plain have called Obama “a socialist,” “a redistributionist,” “a Marxist,” and “a communist” – without a shred of evidence to support their name-calling, for these terms are pejorative, rather than in any manner descriptive. This is the way authoritarian leaders operate.

    In my book Conservatives Without Conscience, I set forth the traits of authoritarian leaders and followers, which have been distilled from a half-century of empirical research, during which thousands of people have voluntarily been interviewed by social scientists. The touch points in these somewhat-overlapping lists of character traits provide a clear picture of the characters of both John McCain and Sarah Palin.

    McCain, especially, fits perfectly as an authoritarian leader. Such leaders possess most, if not all, of these traits:

    * dominating

    * opposes equality

    * desirous of personal power

    * amoral

    * intimidating and bullying

    * faintly hedonistic

    * vengeful

    * pitiless

    * exploitive

    * manipulative

    * dishonest

    * cheats to win

    * highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic)

    * mean-spirited

    * militant

    * nationalistic

    * tells others what they want to hear

    * takes advantage of “suckers”

    * specializes in creating false images to sell self

    * may or may not be religious

    * usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

    Incidentally, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney also can be described by these well-defined and typical traits — which is why a McCain presidency is so likely to be nearly identical to a Bush presidency.

    Clearly, Sarah Palin also has some qualities typical of authoritarian leaders, not to mention almost all of the traits found among authoritarian followers. Specifically, such followers can be described as follows:

    • submissive to authority

    • aggressive on behalf of authority

    • highly conventional in their behavior

    • highly religious*

    • possessing moderate to little education

    • trusting of untrustworthy authorities

    • prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals and followers of religions other than their own)

    • mean-spirited

    • narrow-minded

    • intolerant

    • bullying

    • zealous

    • dogmatic

    • uncritical toward chosen authority

    • hypocritical

    • inconsistent and contradictory

    • prone to panic easily

    • highly self-righteous

    • moralistic

    • strict disciplinarians

    • severely punitive

    • demanding loyalty and returning it

    • possessing little self-awareness

    • usually politically and economically conservative/Republican

*By “highly religious,” Dean means religious in the traditional, evolutionary religion sense; which must be distinguished with religious in the sense of spiritual understanding, which has little or nothing to do with religious affiliations.

    The leading authority on right-wing authoritarianism, a man who devoted his career to developing hard empirical data about these people and their beliefs, is Robert Altemeyer. Altemeyer, a social scientist based in Canada, flushed out these typical character traits in decades of testing.
    Altemeyer believes about 25 percent of the adult population in the United States is solidly authoritarian (with that group mostly composed of followers, and a small percentage of potential leaders). It is in these ranks of some 70 million that we find the core of the McCain/Palin supporters. They are people who are, in Altemeyer’s words, are “so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds.”

Hmm. Kind of mirrors the 28 percent that still think Dick Bush is doing a heckofa job. Kind of sounds like John McCain’s “base” supporters; a wonderful double entendre.

    If Obama is rejected on November 4th for another authoritarian conservative like McCain, I must ask if Americans are sufficiently intelligent to competently govern themselves.

And you will have already been answered.

    I can understand authoritarian conservatives voting for McCain, for they [refuse to] know no better. It is well-understood that most everyone votes with his or her heart, not his or her head. Polls show that 81 percent of Americans “feel” (in their hearts and their heads) that our country is going the wrong way. How could anyone with such thoughts and feelings vote for more authoritarian conservatism, which has done so much to take the nation in the wrong direction?

I think Dean overlooks the fact that authoritarian McCaniacs think America is headed in the wrong direction because the others who feel we’re headed in the wrong direction support Obama, or anyone not espousing authoritarian Mavericky Shit-Pie that passes for the Republican Manifesto.

    We will all find out on (or about) November 5th.

Perhaps. Or we could be headed for another vote fraud debacle that has McCain-Palin ahead by a few hundred votes nationally, and the Supremes get to pick another authoritarian asshole and his sidekick.

People like William Ayers— who considered himself a true patriot— will start blowing shit up again.

Or.

The Supremes do the right thing, and we can get on with excising the cancer from America’s heart and soul.

Source: Urantian Sojourn

“Did somebody call for a plumber?”

“Oh gosh, Joe” exclaimed a startled Sarah. “I didn’t hear you there. I was so busy reading the press and the media. You know, all of them.”

“Permission to come aboard the Straight Talk Express?”

“Granted!” she cried, nasally.

The unlicensed Plumber, his plunger erect, boarded the bus and slid into a seat next to the unindicted Governor.

“I don’t know about you, but my polls sure could use a bump,” he whispered into her ear.

“For sure,” purred the Governor, sliding off her $800 spectacles. “Whaddayasay this time, we play ‘Obama and Ayers’?”

“That’s not working so great anymore. How about ‘Obama and Khalidi’?”

“Ooh, go on,” said the Governor, undoing her Valentino blouse, $2,000 button by $2,000 button.

As the Plumber explores her North Slopes, the Governor ran her manicured fingernails across his manly small-town chest, tracing the embroidered name on his uniform: “SAM.”

“Good golly, Joe, I haven’t felt muscles like these since that moose I shot, skinned, gutted, and dressed–while giving birth to Piper. Or was it Track?”

As the Governor donated the rest of her clothing to charity, the Plumber covered her in kisses, striving to keep her red places red. But just as she reached down to touch his ever-growing capital gains, there was a cry from outside.

“Mom! Mooom!!!!”

“Aw heck,” muttered the Governor. “What do you want, Bristol?”

“My water broke and my contractions are 5 minutes apart. Are you sure I should be taking a campaign bus tour across Pennsylvania?”

“You’ll do it and Florida, too, young lady!” barked the Governor. “Now fly back to Alaska and get ready.”

The Governor turned back to the Plumber, who was ready to fill her pipeline.

“Come on, baby,” he moaned. “Wave your white flag of surrender.”

“Oh yes, Joe, yes! My gosh,” she exhaled in ecstasy, “I think I can see Russia.”

But suddenly, their preconditioned negotiations were interrupted by an angry voice.

“What the hell is this?”

The two of them shot up, decoupling.

“John!”

“Senator!”

“Porking… on my own campaign bus… when we’re down so many points in Ohio…” the Senator hyperventilated, staggering around, clutching his heart. He dropped to the floor, murmuring his last words, “My friends…”

The Governor gazed in horror at the man before her, lying in a very un-pro-Life position.

“Oh doggone it,” she exclaimed. “What the heck do I do now?”

Source: 23/6

Liberals have long laughed off any suggestion of liberal media bias, but this week, Politico.com reveals that the perceived media slant against McCain is absolutely real. They cite a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism that shows that over the last six weeks, John McCain got four times as many negative stories as positive ones while Barack Obama received more than twice as much positive coverage as McCain. Why? The McCain campaign is a shambles. It has failed to achieve any of its goals and its steady collapse may spell trouble for the future of the GOP. No reasonable person would disagree. Yet, is that any reason for such negative coverage? The media’s continued insistence on reporting the facts about the disgraceful McCain campaign is liberal bias, pure and simple.

And it’s not just politics. Liberal media bias is everywhere. For example, let’s take a look at coverage of the new movie, Saw V. As of this writing, Metacritic.com, which aggregates music and film reviews and assigns them a weighted score based on the severity of criticism, currently gives the film a score of 20 out of 100. A similar site, RottenTomatoes.com, reports that Saw V has received negative reviews from 86 percent of critics. What gives? Just because the movie is by all accounts a ponderous, contrived mess, is that any reason for the press to so blatantly showcase its bias? It’s this kind of treatment that links the Saw V and the McCain campaign. Sure, one is a disappointing and gruesome spectacle filled with blood-spattered bodies and shocking images that force viewers to turn away in disgust, and the other is a bad film. But they have more in common than you might think.

Similarly, consider the case of the Idaho child molester whose probation was revoked after he gained access to the Internet. The media’s attitude toward this sexual deviant has been almost uniformly negative. Whatever happened to telling both sides of the story? Isn’t that the media’s job? Instead, we get a completely lopsided account that makes this convicted sex offended look like a monster, simply because the facts of the story bear that out.

Remember that the next time you read another smear piece about how infighting, mismanagement and bad decision making put John McCain’s presidential dreams in the toilet. Just because it’s true is no reason to ignore the other, untrue side of the story. We urge the media, for once, please stop doing your jobs, and let’s get back to the kind of evenhanded-at-any-cost journalism we all enjoy.

Source: 23/6

The big worry is that the Republicans will attempt to steal this election. By cheating to get in George Bush – we get a lower quality candidate – or more in this election – it’s the best person to lead the country in these economic times. McCain’s view is backward looking, at best he would have made a better president back in 2000, but George W/Rove dirty tricks sealed his fate. In this election he has a person as his VP, who has been deemed unqualified to hold higher office, by the majority voting public. To steal the election – would send the wrong message to the world and put America on a course, which it may not recover from for some time. John McCain has surrounded himself with lobbyists, all lobbyist can’t be bad, but it seems that his focus will be on the interests of these lobbyist over the interests of the average American. These include oil lobbyist, of which he plans to give EXXON Mobil a tax credit – although they made record profits – over giving the poorest workers, and the middle class a tax break. The polls have indicated that people have selected Obama as the best person to steer the county on a new path, while giving high priority to the the interests of the average person who wishes to do well in America. The Republicans propped on the belief that their belief in God/ gives them priority over all others, even those believing in the same God, that this gives them the right to cheat, steal, lie, smear, deceive and manipulate to win an election, by any means, disenfranchising those honest voters, and making a mockery out of the democratic system. Republicans, don’t need to steal this election, what they need, is to steal away and rethink what it means to be Republican – not the racist, hateful, bigoted bag of tricks they have been promoting, not the war mongering blinded by addiction to oil and obtaining the next fix by military means strategy, but a meaningful this is who we are, this is how we want to present ourselves and here’s what we hope to achieve or how we think we might do it better. Alternatively maybe they should select who among them would like to go to prison – for their larger supremacist goal.    

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Barack Obama’s campaign said Democratic voters were piling up imposing early voting totals in battleground states, warning that John McCain must win big on election day on Tuesday to catch up.

“The die is being cast as we speak,” Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters, saying the Democrat was running strong in swing states Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and others.

“So Senator McCain, on election day is going to have to not just carry the day but carry it convincingly,” Plouffe said.

Plouffe also said that the campaign would expand its advertising in the frenetic final days of the campaign into Republican McCain’s home state of Arizona, following polls which suggest the race had tightened there.

The campaign would also take out advertising spots over the final weekend in normally Republican states like Georgia, after being encouraged by early voting figures and North Dakota, he said.

Plouffe said that in the crucial swing-state of Florida, Democrats had built a 200,000 strong gap over McCain after early and absentee voting — reversing the trend from 2004 when President George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the state.

“In 2008, as of last night, we had just about a 200,000 vote edge over the Republicans, which is, obviously, a big change from 2004,” Plouffe said.

Republicans went into election day that year with an edge of around 40,000 votes.

In the western swing state of Nevada, 43 percent of Democrats who voted early were either new voters or sporadic voters — a prized demographic as campaigns seek an edge in close fought states, Plouffe said.

In North Carolina, Plouffe said, 19 percent of Democrats who voted early had never voted in a general election before, bolstering Obama’s hopes of bringing large numbers of new voters into the process.

“We very much like what we’re seeing in early vote. And obviously, in states like Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina.”

The McCain campaign scheduled its own conference call later on Friday to address the state of the race, four days before election day.

“The pundits have written us off much as they have done before, but we are closing my friends, and we are going to win Ohio,” McCain said in the crucial midwestern battleground state on Friday.

“We’re a few points down … but we’re coming back strong.”

Source: Raw Story

Newly obtained computer schematics provide further detail of how electronic voting data was routed during the 2004 election from Ohio’s Secretary of State’s office through a partisan Tennessee web hosting company.

A network security expert with high-level US government clearances, who is also a former McCain delegate, says the documents – server schematics which trace the architecture created for Ohio’s then-Republican Secretary of State and state election chief Kenneth Blackwell – raise troubling questions about the security of electronic voting and the integrity of the 2004 presidential election results.

The flow chart shows how voting information was transferred from Ohio to SmarTech Inc., a Chattanooga Tennessee IT company known for its close association with the Republican Party, before the 2004 election results were displayed online.

Information technology expert Stephen Spoonamore believes this architecture could have made possible a KingPin or “Man in the Middle” (MIM) attack — a well-defined criminal methodology in which a computer is inserted into the network of a bank or credit card processor to intercept and modify transactions before they reach a central computer.

In an affidavit filed in September, Spoonamore asserted that “any time all information is directed to a single computer for consolidation, it is possible… that single computer will exploit the information for some purpose. … In the case of Ohio 2004, the only purpose I can conceive for sending all county vote tabulations to a GOP managed Man-in-the-Middle site in Chattanooga before sending the results onward to the Sec. of State, would be to hack the vote at the MIM.”

Not everyone agrees. RAW STORY also sent the schematics to computer science professor David L. Dill, a longtime critic of electronic voting machines. In an email message, Dill said he’s skeptical that an attack of the sort described by Spoonamore could have been carried out undetected.

“It seems that the major concern is whether routing election results through a third-party server would allow that third party to change the reported election results,” Dill wrote. “These diagrams haven’t answered my basic question about that idea. The individual counties know the counts that they transmitted to the state. If those results were altered by the state or a middleman, I would think that many people in many counties would know the actual numbers and would raise an alarm.”

Spoonamore has now filed a fresh affidavit (pdf), in regard to a case involving alleged Ohio vote tampering, which asserts that the schematics support a “Man in the Middle” attack having been implemented in Ohio in 2004. Ohio provided the crucial Electoral College votes to secure President George W. Bush’s reelection.

“The computer system at SmartTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmartTech computers,” Spoonamore wrote in the affadavit.

“Overall, my analysis of the two Architectures provided is the following,” he added. “They are very simple systems. They are designed for ease of use during the one of two times a year they are needed for an election. They are not designed with any security or monitoring systems for negative actions including MIM or KingPin attacks. These systems as designed would not be sufficient for any banking function, credit card function, or even or many corporate email systems needing a high degree of confidence. They are systems which will work easily, but are based on a belief all users and the system itself will be trusted not to be hacked.”

He continued, “There are obviously many parties willing, with motivation, and able to hack an election for a desired outcome.”

Inconclusive Evidence?
Dill told Raw Story the schematics are inconclusive and that he continues to have questions after reading Spoonamore’s latest affadavit, although he cautioned that he himself is not an expert in Spoonamore’s specialty of network security.

“Basically, the whole thing seems highly speculative,” Dill said. “It’s important to distinguish ‘possible’ from ‘probable’ here. I don’t even know if this is possible. More details about how the tabulators worked in those particular counties, who was managing them, how the results were uploaded, whether they were all the same kind, etc. would help establish that.”

“As to ‘probable’ — I don’t think that’s been established at all, unless one starts with the presumption that the election was stolen and works backwards from there,” he added. “I don’t think Spoonamore has made the case that SmartTech and Triad ‘.. reversed the outcome of the 2004 Ohio Presidential Race.’ I don’t know that it DIDN’T happen, but, at this point, I think we need to demand better evidence.”

“Neither I nor Spoonamore have any special knowledge on exit polls or Ohio voting patterns in judicial races,” Dill continued. “I’d urge you to take a close look at what skeptical political scientists have written. It’s been a long time, but I was left with the impression that proof was lacking.”

RAW STORY has posted the schematics here for 2004 and for 2006 see below.

2006 schematics/click to enlarge

The Connally Anomaly
Spoonamore notes that on election night in 2004, he observed what he calls the “Connally anomaly,” in which eight Ohio counties that had been reporting a consistent ratio of Kerry votes to Bush votes suddenly changed at about 11 pm and began reporting results much more favorable to Bush. Election tallies in these counties, plus a few others, also showed the unlikely result of tens of thousands of voters choosing an extremely liberal judicial candidate but not voting for Kerry.

Spoonamore immediately suspected that a Man in the Middle attack had occurred but had no idea how it could have been carried out. It was not until November 2006 that the alternative media group ePluribus Media discovered that the real-time election results streamed by the office of Ohio’s Secretary of State at election.sos.state.oh.us had been hosted on SmarTech’s servers in Tennessee.

“Since early this decade, top Internet ‘gurus’ in Ohio have been coordinating web services with their GOP counterparts in Chattanooga, wiring up a major hub that in 2004, first served as a conduit for Ohio’s live election night results,” researchers at ePluribus Media wrote.

By then, SmarTech had become embroiled in the White House email scandal, during which it was discovered that accounts at rnc.com, gwb43.com, and other Republican Party domains which were hosted by SmarTech had been used by White House staff,, instead of their official government email accounts, to avoid leaving a public record of their communications. When subpoenaed by Congress, the White House said the emails had been accidentally deleted.

Remaining Questions
Dill further noted after examining the schematics, “The 11/02/04 diagram has several computer icons in the upper left for EN Results entry of various types. I don’t know how this works, but given that counties are using different software to prepare their totals, I suspect the data is entered by hand into web forms or that spreadsheets are uploaded. Such an entry method would not easily lend itself to corrupting the original data. … Even if data can be changed at the county servers, many pollworkers and possibly others know the results that were reported from their precincts, and someone would probably notice if the numbers reported by the county or state differed from those.”

Dill said it would be helpful to have more information regarding the computers used and how they were connected.

“It would be a great idea to get some more definitive information about how the computers were connected and run in those counties,” he wrote. “Messing with disks might help cover up evidence after the fact. But the first thing that had to happen was that county-level results had to be changed in such a way that no one could compare the precinct results with the announced totals.”

Spoonamore said tampering could have been accomplished without broad knowledge.

Some have said “that local County Elections officials had been instructed to fax final results to confirm them, but this action would not have mattered if the local elections boards computers were already under the control of the KingPin,” he wrote. He said the ultimate results faxed to the Secretary of State from Ohio counties could have been inserted by SmarTech, providing “a smokescreen” that would “mask the already hacked results and provide an illusion the tabulators were not reporting results over the Internet.”

Source: Raw Story

From CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Check out CNN’s Electoral Map. (CNN) — Some tough news for John McCain in his own backyard, as his home state of Arizona moves from “safe McCain” to “lean McCain” in the latest CNN poll of polls.

And the Republican nominee continues to lose ground in reliably-red areas, as North Dakota moves from “lean McCain” to “toss-up” – meaning three electoral votes that had been counted for McCain are now considered up for grabs.

But there’s some good news for McCain down south: Louisiana has moved from “lean McCain” to “safe McCain.” And the movement on the map is far from done.

Barack Obama now leads McCain by 131 electoral votes, up from his 128-vote lead yesterday. CNN now estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win 291 electoral votes and John McCain 160. There are 87 electoral votes up for grabs. Again, 270 electoral votes are needed to win the White House.

The CNN Electoral Map is based on analysis from the CNN Political Unit and takes into account a number of factors, including polling, state voting trends, ad spending patterns, candidate visits, and guidance from the campaigns, parties, and political strategists. The list will be updated regularly as the campaign develops over time.

Source: CNN Politics

Wolfe Blitzer interview Barrack Obama Part 2

Wolfe Blitzer interview Barrack Obama Part 3

ABC News reports:

    In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.”If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald explains why this argument is frighteningly wrong:

So Dumb It Hurts

    If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.This isn’t only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice here to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it’s inherently unfair when they’re criticized. And now, apparently, it’s even unconstitutional.According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. The First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials would not be “attacked” in the papers. It is even possible to imagine more breathaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?

Source: HP

A few readers comments from the WSJ

The real question is – is Sarah Palin being dumb – or as with this socialist argument against Obama – simply trying to manipulate the audience?

If you notice Palin won’t actually say Obama is a socialist – just that Joe the plumber said that he thought it sounded like socialism – and then by the way – we find that Joe Plumber didn’t say anything about socialism to Obama’s face – that was said in an interview with Fox News Laura Ingraham.

If she repeats this 1st Amendment line – we will know that it is being exploited – if she never mentions it again this will confirm our suspicions that she is dumb-da-dumb-dumb dumb!!

    That is the dumbest statement I have ever heard a politician make about the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects the right of private citizens — including the press — to speak freely, without government interference. That right is strongest when exercised in relation to public figures like Palin.
    * * *
    If she is upset, she needs to win over supporters with the strength of her ideas. The fact that she can’t speaks volumes about her credibility and the validity of her ideas.
    * * *
    The fact that she’s now twisting the First Amendment, which essentially protects a “free market for political ideas, shows just how poorly she understands the philosophy of her own party. It’s also just poor taste.

Comment by Falstaff

    Sounds like she can dish it out, but can’t take it. If she wants to express her opinion on the media, why shouldn’t the media be able to express their opinion of what she has said. Isn’t that what First Amendment rights are all about?

Comment by No Sympathy for Sarah

    The point is not Palin’s First Amendment rights; it’s the fact that a lot of what she and McCain have been saying is negative and often false. She can, and does, say whatever she wants about Obama. At the same time, her detractors have the right to call her on the negativity and falsity of her speech. The First Amendment has not been abridged by anyone here. She missed the point entirely.

Comment by Missed the Point

Part 2

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.

After nearly two years of campaigning, a pair of hotly contested nominating battles, a series of debates and an avalanche of advertisements, the nationwide poll found the contours of the race hardening in the last days before the election on Tuesday. Twelve percent of the voters surveyed said they had already voted. These were among the findings:

¶Mr. Obama is maintaining his lead, with 51 percent of likely voters supporting him and 40 percent supporting Mr. McCain in a head-to-head matchup.

¶Some perceptions of race are changing, with a marked increase in the number of people who say they believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America today.

¶Mr. McCain’s focus on taxes, including his talk about Joe the Plumber, seems to be having some effect, as a growing number of voters now say Mr. McCain would not raise their taxes.

¶Eighty-nine percent of people view the economy negatively, and 85 percent think the country is on the wrong track.

¶Mr. Obama continues to have a significant advantage on key issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.

The survey found that opinions of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain had hardened considerably, as 9 out of 10 voters who said they had settled on a candidate said their minds were made up, and a growing number of them called it “extremely important” that their candidate win the election. Roughly half of each candidate’s supporters said they were “scared” of what the other candidate would do if elected. Just 4 percent of voters were undecided, and when they were pressed to say whom they leaned toward, the shape of the race remained essentially the same.

Bolstered by the fiscal crisis and deep concerns about the direction of the country, Mr. Obama has seemed to solidify the support he has gained in recent months. When likely voters were asked whom they would vote for in an expanded field that included several third-party candidates, Mr. Obama got the support of 52 percent of them, Mr. McCain 39 percent, Bob Barr 1 percent, and Ralph Nader 2 percent.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Saturday through Wednesday with 1,439 adults nationwide, including 1,308 registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

The poll was conducted as a wide range of state polls have shown Mr. Obama, of Illinois, ahead or tied in several crucial contested states, including some traditionally Republican states that Mr. McCain, of Arizona, must carry to win the election.

The survey suggested that Mr. Obama’s candidacy — if elected, he would be the first black president — has changed some perceptions of race in America. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said whites and blacks have an equal chance of getting ahead in today’s society, up from the half who said they thought so in July. And while 14 percent still said most people they knew would not vote for a black presidential candidate, the number has dropped considerably since the campaign began.

Mr. McCain’s heavy focus on taxes in the final weeks of the campaign seems to be having some effect, the poll found. Forty-seven percent of voters said Mr. McCain would not raise taxes on people like them, up from just 38 percent who said so two weeks ago. (And 50 percent said they thought Mr. Obama would raise taxes on people like them, while 44 percent said he would not; both numbers are similar to two weeks ago.)

With just days until Americans choose a new president, the survey found them deeply uneasy about the state of their country. Eight-five percent of respondents said the country was pretty seriously off on the wrong track, near the record high recorded earlier this month. A majority said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. And President Bush’s approval rating remains at 22 percent, tied for the lowest presidential approval rating on record (which was President Harry S. Truman’s rating, recorded by the Gallup Poll in 1952).

Mr. McCain’s renewed efforts to cast himself as the candidate of change have apparently faltered. Sixty-four percent of voters polled said Mr. Obama would bring about real change if elected, while only 39 percent said Mr. McCain would. And despite Mr. McCain’s increased efforts to distance himself from President Bush, a majority still said he would generally continue Mr. Bush’s policies.

Dixie Cromwell, a 36-year-old cosmetologist from Shelby, N.C., who is a Republican, said in a follow-up interview that she had already voted for Mr. Obama.

“I generally vote Republican, but this year I voted Democrat,” she said. “I just don’t feel we can go through any more of the same old thing that we’ve been going through with the Republican Party.”

Mr. Obama’s policies were seen as much more likely to improve the economy, provide health insurance to more people, and scale back military involvement in Iraq than Mr. McCain’s were. But Mr. McCain enjoyed an advantage when it came to questions about which candidate would make a better commander in chief: 47 percent of voters said Mr. McCain was very likely to be an effective commander in chief, compared with 33 percent who said Mr. Obama would be.

While a majority viewed Ms. Palin as unqualified for the vice presidency, roughly three-quarters of voters saw Mr. Obama’s running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, as qualified for the job. The increase in the number of voters who said Ms. Palin was not prepared was driven almost entirely by Republicans and independents.

Over all, views of Ms. Palin were apparently shaped more by ideology and party than by gender. Ms. Palin was viewed as unprepared for the job by about 6 in 10 men and women alike. But 8 in 10 Democrats viewed her as unprepared, as well as more than 6 in 10 independents and 3 in 10 Republicans.

She’s not donin’ it for naught!!

Here a pro-future energy plan – quickly constructed.

In the future we are going to drive vehicles with mechanics which don’t use oil and gas.

Our factories will be powered by an energy source which cost little or nothing – lowering the cost of production.

The amount spent on energy could be shifted to research and development – we could create more if we don’t have to factor in the energy cost.

Once the cost of energy is out of the equation — as with most things there is an energy cost to manufacture it, and another energy cost to deliver it – to the wholesaler – then another energy cost to either deliver it to the consumer or the retail outlet, each time a product has to be moved or made or cooked, then the energy cost is added on to it like a tax.

Once you take that expense out of the system – then you are instantly looking a system where there is more money.

In your own home – if we don’t have to pay for electricity or heating, or gas to power our cars – or if we can significantly reduce these costs in the short term – and say wages stay the same – then you could instantly see how you could have more money in your own household. But if we could take the cost of energy out of the whole system, or significantly reduce it, then we could see how there would be more money for everyone – as sales or demand may go up and prices go down. We become the limiting factor and not energy availability or its cost. How we want to use and recycle materials for use again, becomes the limiting factors, on what we produce.

TOLEDO, Ohio – No blaring country songs. No pink handmade signs. No rousing chants of “Drill, baby, drill.”

Gov. Sarah Palin abandoned the usual flash of her campaign rallies on Wednesday to deliver her second policy speech as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, an address focused on energy security.

Standing on a riser above a concrete floor, under the glare of fluorescent lighting, Ms. Palin addressed fewer than 200 people, mostly employees of Xunlight Corporation, a spin-off from the University of Toledo that manufactures solar energy implements.

She called for greater energy independence, blaming decades of presidents and legislators for failing to achieve it.

“It’s been 30 years’ worth of failed energy policies in Washington, 30 years where we’ve had opportunities to become less reliant on foreign sources, and 30 years of failure in that area,” Ms. Palin said. “We must steer far clear of the errors and false assumptions that have marked the energy policies of nearly 20 Congresses and seven presidents.”

Ms. Palin also laid the blame at the feet of her Democratic counterpart, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has opposed offshore drilling. Mr. Biden was overheard telling a supporter on the campaign trail that he did not support clean-coal technology in the United States.

“He says that clean coal is O.K. for China, but sorry, Ohio, Joe Biden says it’s not for you,” she said. “And that is just nonsense.”

If Senator John McCain is elected, she added, $2 billion a year would be devoted to clean-coal research and development.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland released a response on behalf of the Obama campaign:

    “In a bit of rare straight talk, Sarah Palin attacked her own running mate’s record today by blaming our oil addiction on ‘thirty years of failure’ in Washington,” said Governor Ted Strickland. “John McCain was there for twenty-six of those years, during which he voted against alternative sources of energy and stood with oil industry lobbyists instead. Now he wants to give those oil companies an additional $4 billion in tax breaks, even as he proposes pennies for the kind of renewable energy that can end our dependence on Mideast oil and create new jobs. After decades of John McCain’s failed leadership on energy, we can’t afford four more.”

As a vice-presidential candidate, Ms. Palin has leaned heavily on her record in Alaska challenging the power of oil companies, and as governor, she negotiated a $40 billion pipeline that would deliver natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska to the lower 48 states. But that project, which she described in her speech on Wednesday, is years away from federal approval and will not be built for at least a decade.

Source: NYT

When it comes to the environment, John McCain only has the interests of Big Oil at heart. That’s why he has over 22 Big Oil lobbyists advising him. That’s why he favored lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling — a move that prompted Big Oil to donate over $1 million to his campaign. And thanks to the League of Conservation Voters, we’ve got the proof!

2008 Presidential Candidate Comparison

Here’s a look at the candidates’ positions on several key issues. For more information, visit www.nea.org/educationvotes

Click to Enlarge

From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism. Tuesday’s probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign’s closing days.

Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain’s saddle than his association with George W. Bush. Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin’s never having attended a “Georgetown cocktail party” is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents “are in charge of the United States Senate”?

She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes. But does she know that when Lyndon Johnson, transformed by the 1960 election from Senate majority leader into vice president, ventured to the Capitol to attend the Democratic senators’ weekly policy luncheon, the new majority leader, Montana’s Mike Mansfield, supported by his caucus, barred him because his presence would be a derogation of the Senate’s autonomy?

Perhaps Palin’s confusion about the office for which she is auditioning comes from listening to its current occupant. Dick Cheney, the foremost practitioner of this administration’s constitutional carelessness in aggrandizing executive power, regularly attends the Senate Republicans’ Tuesday luncheons. He has said jocularly that he is “a product” of the Senate, which pays his salary, and that he has no “official duties” in the executive branch. His situational constitutionalism has, however, led him to assert, when claiming exemption from a particular executive order, that he is a member of the legislative branch and, when seeking to shield certain of his deliberations from legislative inquiry, to say that he is a member of the executive branch.

Palin may be an inveterate simplifier; McCain has a history of reducing controversies to cartoons. A Republican financial expert recalls attending a dinner with McCain for the purpose of discussing with him domestic and international financial complexities that clearly did not fascinate the senator. As the dinner ended, McCain’s question for his briefer was: “So, who is the villain?”

McCain revived a familiar villain — “huge amounts” of political money — when Barack Obama announced that he had received contributions of $150 million in September. “The dam is broken,” said McCain, whose constitutional carelessness involves wanting to multiply impediments to people who want to participate in politics by contributing to candidates — people such as the 632,000 first-time givers to Obama in September.

Why is it virtuous to erect a dam of laws to impede the flow of contributions by which citizens exercise their First Amendment right to political expression? “We’re now going to see,” McCain warned, “huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal.” The supposedly inevitable scandal, which supposedly justifies preemptive government restrictions on Americans’ freedom to fund the dissemination of political ideas they favor, presumably is that Obama will be pressured to give favors to his September givers. The contributions by the new givers that month averaged $86.

One excellent result of this election cycle is that public financing of presidential campaigns now seems sillier than ever. The public has always disliked it: Voluntary and cost-free participation, using the check-off on the income tax form, peaked at 28.7 percent in 1980 and has sagged to 9.2 percent. The Post, which is melancholy about the system’s parlous condition, says there were three reasons for creating public financing: to free candidates from the demands of fundraising, to level the playing field and “to limit the amount of money pouring into presidential campaigns.” The first reason is decreasingly persuasive because fundraising is increasingly easy because of new technologies such as the Internet. The second reason is, the Supreme Court says, constitutionally impermissible. Government may not mandate equality of resources among political competitors who earn different levels of voluntary support. As for the third reason — “huge amounts” (McCain) of money “pouring into” (The Post) presidential politics — well:

The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that, by Election Day, $2.4 billion will have been spent on presidential campaigns in the two-year election cycle that began in January 2007, and an additional $2.9 billion will have been spent on 435 House and 35 Senate contests. This $5.3 billion is a billion less than Americans will spend this year on potato chips.

By George F. Will

::

Mental Banter

I like the sharing your peanut butter sandwich idea – but here’s where I can see the McCain people picking a hole in it. Obama’s tax cuts are for the working people – but if he gave half of his sandwich to his favorite nursery school friend – or even two friends – the Republicans could argue that that kid’s mother didn’t make/work for the sandwich and therefore it was equivalent to a government give-away, sharing your sandwich in this light could even be considered welfare as the kids mom never worked for the sandwich. But then McCain’s argument could be turned here – that under communism everybody worked – therefore were deserving of the share of the sandwich. And likewise under Obama capitalist tax plan the working poor and middle class – will be given a helping hand. Whether they are deserving – could be argued – John McCain doesn’t think so – but I think Obama does.

If you think of John McCain’s idea about wealth sharing we have to look at the loaf of bread – McCain would take two slices out throw them out to 95% of working people and fight like the dickens to give the rest to the top 5% – who he feels are more deserving. What Obama would say that the 5% could keep most of their loaf but out of any new loaves baked in any year he is asking for an additional 3% to pay for services, the war, the debt, roads and bridges and teachers in schools, college tuition, health-care and tax cuts for the working middle class.     

:.

CORRECTION: BARACK OBAMA’S EXPERIENCE:

    *8 years as State Senator for district of over 750,000 people
    :.
    *4 years in Senate representing a state of 13 million
    :.
    *First black President of Harvard Law Review
    :.
    *12 years as Constitutional Law professor
    :.
    *Chairman of Senate’s Health and Human Services committee
    :.
    *Sponsored 136 bills,
    :.
    *Served on Foreign Affairs, Environment & Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees

Here’s our daily composite of the six major national tracking polls. The recent tightening in the race appears to have stopped for today, with Obama’s lead expanding slightly:

    • Gallup: Obama 51%, McCain 44%, with a ±2% margin of error, unchanged from yesterday.

    • Rasmussen: Obama 51%, McCain 46%, with a ±2% margin of error, compared to a 50%-47% Obama lead from yesterday.

    • ABC/Washington Post: Obama 52%, McCain 44%, with a ±2.5% margin of error, unchanged from yesterday.

    • Hotline/Diageo: Obama 48%, McCain 42%, with a ±3.3% margin of error, compared to a 49%-42% Obama lead from yesterday.

    • Research 2000: Obama 50%, McCain 45%, with a ±3% margin of error, compared to a 50%-44% Obama lead yesterday.

    • Zogby: Obama 50%, McCain 43%, with a ±2.9% margin of error, compared to a 49%-44% Obama lead from yesterday.

Adding these polls together and weighting them by the square roots of their sample sizes, Obama is ahead 50.5%-44.2%, a lead of 6.3 points, compared to the 50.2%-44.4% Obama lead from yesterday.

Wright weapon of choice?

Wright weapon of choice?

We have Sarah Palin connected to a Alaskan Secessionist group AIP whose leader mistakenly blew his head off with plastic explosives, and a church that believes in a wacky end times theory – of Alaska – as the a last refuge when this all happens. The Democrats could have easily exploited this –

Truth is the Republicans never got their smear message Wright – was Obama a Muslim – or is he a Communist/Marxist, but doesn’t the Marxist concept reject / suppress all religions? To put the GOP smear messages together you end up with a Marxist Muslim – with a Christian Preacher named Rev. Wright. Ok I got it – I think – no – I don’t think!! Because if you really think about it you can’t accept it.

And I forgot we were also meant to believe that Obama’s a terrorist – because he knew a man who committed terrorist acts when he was 8, and he sat on an education advisory board along with other Republicans and Professor Ayers – a committee which was started by a Republican. Was this Republican founder also a terrorist and a radical. This is creeping McCarthyism all over again, and likely this is the kind of administration they would run.

I predict these tactics which have already been in play – will have little effect this time – when people see these ads – like all McCain’s other ads that have backfired – people will run through this hail of arrows to get to the polls to vote for who they want.

Nasty dirty campaigning took down McCain back in 2000, now he wants to use nasty dirty methods to take down Obama – it a universe thing – its that whole – right – wrong thing.

Get ready for a deluge of Wright rantings.

The National Republican Trust PAC, which has been airing an ad attacking Barack Obama’s association with Reverend Wright in three battleground states, has now put down for a national buy on five networks that will last from now through election day, a consultant with the group confirms to me.

The ad will run nationally on Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC for the next five days, the consultant, Rick Wilson, says — “all the way until election day.”

The ad, which you can watch here, features the now-infamous footage of Wright’s livelier sermons, and intones that Obama “never complained” about Wright “until he ran for President,” adding that Obama is “too radical, too risky.”

Previously, the ad was only running in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, as Ben Smith reported the other day.

Now, however, the ad will run nationally, Wilson says, adding that the group just got through getting the spot vetted with network lawyers and is good to go.

Late Update: Wilson tells me that the PAC will have spent $2 million on this national buy by the end of tomorrow.

You may have seen an ex-Hillary Clinton supporter on Fox News named Rothschild who says she is a-votin’ for McCain/Palin – the economy, jobs, health-care would mean little to her – unless she was intentionally concerned about those less well off than herself – it’s logical to go with the one who is offering corporations and the wealthiest in society a tax cut. Saying to this person that John McCain is going to tax the health benefits paid by employers – is like asking her – how much milk cost, she’ll probably need to check with one of her advisers.

by Chartoons

Thanks to LeeAnn for sending it in

Is it all Palin’s fault? Look back at the horrible things the McCain camp had Palin say ~ and like a soldier she followed their orders! John McCain has no one to blame but himself. His economic plan would give Exxon Mobil with it’s record profits more of the tax payers money, but he is appauled by a middle class tax cut – in these times. What he was hoping to do was to ride the security and war issue for a third Republican term, but once the economy failed – an economy – his policies helped to construct – never mind his erratic reaction – it simply wasn’t going to be easy to sell the very same economic plan to the American people and he is already tanking in the polls and likely he will tank on the election day.

What’s irony of it all is that people may have voted for the old McCain – the McCain who was more concerned about the average Joe – then the interests of lobbyist and the narrowly focused issues of the far-right of his party.

John McCain’s campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.

And it has decided on Sarah Palin.

In recent days, a McCain “adviser” told Dana Bash of CNN: “She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.”

Imagine not taking advice from the geniuses at the McCain campaign. What could Palin be thinking?

Also, a “top McCain adviser” told Mike Allen of Politico that Palin is “a whack job.”

Maybe she is. But who chose to put this “whack job” on the ticket? Wasn’t it John McCain? And wasn’t it his first presidential-level decision?

And if you are a 72-year-old presidential candidate, wouldn’t you expect that your running mate’s fitness for high office would come under a little extra scrutiny? And, therefore, wouldn’t you make your selection with care? (To say nothing about caring about the future of the nation?)

McCain didn’t seem to care that much. McCain admitted recently on national TV that he “didn’t know her well at all” before he chose Palin.

But why not? Why didn’t he get to know her better before he made his choice?

It’s not like he was rushed. McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination in early March. He didn’t announce his choice for a running mate until late August.

Wasn’t that enough time for McCain to get to know Palin? Wasn’t that enough time for his crackerjack “vetters” to investigate Palin’s strengths and weaknesses, check through records and published accounts, talk to a few people, and learn that she was not only a diva but a whack job diva?

But McCain picked her anyway. He wanted to close the “enthusiasm gap” between himself and Barack Obama. He wanted to inject a little adrenaline into the Republican National Convention. He wanted to goose up the Republican base.

And so he chose Palin. Is she really a diva and a whack job? Could be. There are quite a few in politics. (And a few in journalism, too, though in journalism they are called “columnists.”)

As proof that she is, McCain aides now say Palin is “going rogue” and straying from their script. Wow. What a condemnation. McCain sticks to the script. How well is he doing?

In truth, Palin’s real problem is not her personality or whether she takes orders well. Her real problem is that neither she nor McCain can make a credible case that Palin is ready to assume the presidency should she need to.

And that undercuts McCain’s entire campaign.

This was the deal McCain made with the devil. In exchange for energizing his base by picking Palin, he surrendered his chief selling point: that he was better prepared to run the nation in time of crisis, whether it be economic, an attack by terrorists or, as he has been talking about in recent days, fending off a nuclear war.

“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain told a crowd in Miami on Wednesday. “I’ve been tested, my friends, I’ve been tested.”

But has Sarah Palin?

I don’t believe running mates win or lose elections, though some believe they can be a drag on the ticket. Lee Atwater, who was George H.W. Bush’s campaign manager in 1988, told me that Dan Quayle cost the ticket 2 to 3 percentage points. But Bush won the election by 7.8 percentage points.

So, in Atwater’s opinion, Bush survived his bad choice by winning the election on his own.

McCain could do the same thing. But his campaign’s bad decisions have not stopped with Sarah Palin. It has made a series of questionable calls, including making Joe the Plumber the embodiment of the campaign.

Are voters really expected to warmly embrace an (unlicensed) plumber who owes back taxes and complains about the possibility of making a quarter million dollars a year?

And did McCain’s aides really believe so little in John McCain’s own likability that they thought Joe the Plumber would be more likable?

Apparently so. Which is sad.

We in the press make too much of running mates and staff and talking points and all the rest of the hubbub that accompanies a campaign.

In the end, it comes down to two candidates slugging it out.

Either McCain pulls off a victory in the last round or he doesn’t.

And if he doesn’t, he has nobody to blame but himself.

Largest U.S. oil company surges past analyst estimates to post net income of $14.83 billion.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Exxon Mobil Corp. set a quarterly profit record for a U.S. company Thursday, surging past analyst estimates.

Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), the leading U.S. oil company, said its third-quarter net profit was $14.83 billion, or $2.86 per share, up from $9.41 billion, or $1.70, a year earlier. That profit included $1.45 billion in special items.

The company’s prior record was $11.68 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

The latest quarter’s net income equaled $1,865.69 per second, nearly $400 a second more than the prior mark.

The company said its revenue totaled $137.7 billion in the third quarter.

Shell profits up 22%

Shell profits up 22%

Analysts had expected Exxon to report a 40% jump in earnings to $2.38 per share, or net income of $12.2 billion, and a 28% surge in revenue to $131.13 billion, according to a consensus of estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Exxon’s stock price slipped by nearly 3% in afternoon trading.

The company’s earnings were buoyed by oil prices, which reached record highs in the quarter before declining. Oil prices were trading at $140.97 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and had fallen to $100.64 at the end.

Compare that to 2007, when prices traded at $71.09 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and rose to $81.66 by the end.

Exxon’s special charges include the gain of $1.62 billion from the sale of a German natural gas company. It also includes the $170 million charge in interest related to punitive damages from the Valdez oil spill off the Alaskan coast in 1989.

The Irving, Texas-based company said it lost $50 million, before taxes, in oil revenue because of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The company expects damages related to these hurricanes to reduce fourth-quarter earnings by $500 million.

Despite the surge in profit, Exxon said oil production was down 8% in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year.

The company also said it is spending more money to locate new sources of oil. Exxon said it spent $6.9 billion on oil exploration in the third quarter, a jump of 26% from the same period last year. The company said it began a new program to tap natural gas offshore from Nigeria.

Exxon also has an aggressive program for buying back stock with 109 million of its shares repurchased during the third quarter, at a cost of $8.7 billion.

In a conference call with analysts, David Rosenthal, vice president of investor relations for Exxon, said the company’s “first priority” is utilizing profits to continue investing in exploration programs for oil and other resources.

Source: CNNMoney

Joe, Joe, Jooe…

Look in later today for our On the Road piece from Wilmington, North Carolina. We’re a bit ahead of our coverage, which occasionally happens out here with the long distances, input, output and timing demands. Tonight we’ll be at the Obama-Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Florida, and we’re breaking in from Miami, where John McCain just concluded his “Joe the Plumber” rally at Everglades Lumber.

After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that’s what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.

The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.

“People were screaming ‘Terrorist!’ ‘Communist!’ ‘Socialist!'” Sorando said when we caught up with him. “I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me.”

Asked what had precipitated the event, “We were just chanting ‘Obama!’ and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy.”

Garcia told us that the man who originally had warned the two it was his property when they had first tried to attend the rally with Obama T-shirts was one of the agitators. Coming up just before the scene started getting out of hand, the man whispered in Garcia’s ear, “I’m gonna beat you up the next time I see you.” Garcia described him for us: “a big stocky man wearing a tweed jacket.” He used hand motions to emphasize this was a large guy. We went back to look for the gentleman twenty minutes after the incident but didn’t find him.

The two Obama supporters had attempted to attend the event with tickets printed from the McCain website. Both were clad in Obama T-shirts, Sorando in a blue “Obama ’08” shirt, and Garcia in a white “Obama-Biden” shirt. They were told that the event was being held on private property and that wearing the shirts or carrying the signs they would be asked to either remove the shirts or not attend.

For an hour during the rally, the two had stood across the street from the lumberyard on public property holding yard signs. Some drivers honked in support, and others honked in disapproval. When the rally ended and the crowd spilled out, the disturbance began.

Garcia had a message for his stocky, tweed-clad threatener. “You tell that guy he can find Tony Garcia down at the West Dade library every day from 7 to 7 helping people early vote. I’ll be there from 1 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. You tell him if he wants to kick my ass that’s where he can find me. Come beat me up.”

Not thirty seconds later, John McCain drove by in his SUV and waved at Garcia on the sidewalk, who was happily waving his Obama sign.

Source: Five Thirty Eight

Alaska Governor and Republican Vice President hopeful Sarah Palin may be facing another round of scrutiny, this time for charging the state for her children to travel with her while conducing official state business.

CBS News has obtained a copy of the complaint that Frank Gwartney, a retired lineman in Anchorage filed last Friday, with Alaska’s Attorney General, Talis Colber in Juneau. “Palin ran on the platform of ethics, transparency and anti-corruption. I’m tired of the hypocrisy that exists in Government and people need to know the truth,” said Gwartney.

The complaint against Governor Palin, alleges Misuse of Official Position: “Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters…” All the allegations contained in the complaint are related to state reimbursed travel.

In Alaska, ethics complaints filed against the Governor are confidential. “We can neither confirm nor refute that a complaint has been filed against Governor Sarah Palin. Any complaint remains confidential unless the person being charged waives confidentiality or if the complaint progresses to the state of probable cause,” Assistant District Attorney, Dave Jones told CBS News.

Bristol, Piper and Willow, Palin’s daughters, accrued $32,629 in travel expenses while Palin’s husband Todd raked up $22,174 – all billed to the state for a total of $54,803.00.

“The Governor’s office has expended $54,803.00 in Alaska state dollars for family travel since December 2006,” according to the Governor’s Administrative Services Director, Linda Perez. “The documentation related to family travel has changed and you have to keep in mind that the governor and her family are very popular,” added Perez. […]

Source: CBS

A new poll from Arizona State University finds John McCain just two points ahead of Barack Obama in his home state.

The results would likely be dismissed if not for the reputation of Bruce Merrill, the poll director, whose work is considered a gold standard in Arizona polling.

Some details:

    Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “The race in Arizona is very close. Supporters of both candidates are highly committed to their candidates, with 94 percent of Obama’s supporters and 93 percent of McCain’s supporters indicating that they are firmly committed and won’t change their mind before Election Day. In addition, the undecided vote is very low, which means that there are few people remaining to be persuaded during the last week of the campaign. Obama has been closing the gap by attracting independents and women to his campaign. McCain does well among conservative Democrats and evangelicals. Still, a week is a long time in a political campaign and anything can happen. Who wins will be determined by which candidate gets their supporters out to the polls on Election Day.”

The previous Arizona State University, taken last month, had McCain leading 45 percent to 38 percent

Source: HP

NATIONAL

From the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll:

    More than twelve million voters have already cast ballots in the presidential contest, according to one estimate, and new data from the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll shows these voters breaking Democratic by a wide margin.

    Among those who said they have already voted at an early voting location or sent in an absentee ballot, Barack Obama picked up 60 percent of the vote in the new poll to John McCain’s 39 percent.

    These voters make up 9 percent of “likely” voters in the track.

    The senator from Illinois has a similar lead, 58 to 39 percent, among those who plan to vote early but have not yet. (Those who plan to vote on Election Day also go for Obama, but by a narrower, 51 to 45 percent.)

From Gallup:

    The voter preferences of the group of 1,430 individuals who have already voted and who were interviewed by Gallup between Oct. 17 and Oct. 27 show a 53% to 43% Obama over McCain tilt.

    Among the group of those who say they have not yet voted, but will before Election Day, the skew towards Obama is more pronounced, at 54% to 40%. By comparison, those who are going to wait to vote on Nov. 4 manifest a narrower 50% to 44% Obama over McCain candidate preference. (Across all registered voters over this time period, Obama leads McCain by a 51% to 43% margin).

Some analysis of early trends from Nate Silver:

    According to Michael McDonald’s terrific website, there are three states in which early voting has already exceeded its totals from 2004. These are Georgia, where early voting is already at 180 percent of its 2004 total, Louisiana (169 percent), and North Carolina (129 percent).

    Hmm … can anybody think of something that those three states have in common?

    The African-American population share is the key determinant of early voting behavior. In states where there are a lot of black voters, early voting is way, way up. In states with fewer African-Americans, the rates of early voting are relatively normal.

    This works at the county level too. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland), which about 30 percent black, twice as many people have already voted early as in all of 2004. In Franklin County (Columbus), which is about 18 percent black and also has tons of students, early voting is already about 3x its 2004 total.

COLORADO

Early voting is currently at over 75% of 2004 levels with one week to go.

Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in early voting, albeit by a slim margin – 38.6% of all early voters, to 37.9% Republicans

TEXAS

“Across Dallas County and into the outer suburbs, thousands of people continue to stream into polling places, dwarfing early-voting records and raising questions about what the preliminary tallies mean for candidates and political parties.”

FLORIDA

In this critical swing state, early voters already make up 27% of total 2004 numbers (in 2004, early voters constituted 36% of total votes).

Dems outnumber Republicans so far, 44.7% to 40%.

GEORGIA

Early voting is already 33% higher than 2004 numbers, and is equivalent to 31% of all votes cast in Georgia in 2004.

Of early voters, 35% are African-American, compared to 25% of the total voting population in 2004.

Also, nearly 56% of early voters are women, another excellent sign for Democrats.

OHIO

“Among those in Ohio who told WHIO-TV/SurveyUSA that they have already voted, Barack Obama leads by 13 points. When the two populations are combined, the data is as here reported: Obama 49%, McCain 45%. Compared to an identical WHIO-TV/SurveyUSA poll released two weeks ago, Obama is down 1 point; McCain is flat.”

ILLINOIS

60,000 votes have already been cast in the Tenth Congressional District.

Of those, 58% were cast by registered Democrats, compared to 25% for Republicans.

Obama should win the district and state in a landslide, but these numbers bode especially well for IL-10 Democratic candidate Dan Seals.

IOWA

Registered Democrats have a 20-point advantage in early voting over Republicans in Iowa.

LOUISIANA

Early voting is near double 2004 levels. Of early voters, registered Democrats have a huge edge, 57.9% to 29.4%.

34% of early voters are African-American.

NEVADA

Democrats lead 54.4% to 29.1% among early voters. Early voters constituted 59.4% of all voters in 2004; this year, early voting to this point is equivalent to 44% of all 2004 numbers.

NORTH CAROLINA

The proportion of black voters among all early voters has leveled off – they constitute 28% of all voters now – but still exceeds black registration in the state.

Early voting has far outstripped 2004 levels, and Democrats are turning out disproportionately.

Source: HP

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, answers a question from plumber Joe Wurzelbacher in Holland, Ohio, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Pic. Ap

16/10/2008 WIRE: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, answers a question from plumber Joe Wurzelbacher in Holland, Ohio, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Pic. Ap

See original Obama-JTP footage below

The Statement:

Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, speaking at an October 27 rally in Leesburg, Virginia, referred to Barack Obama’s October 12 conversation about tax policy with Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the citizen now known as “Joe the Plumber.” She said Obama said he “wants to spread the wealth” and that “Joe the Plumber said to him, it sounded like socialism.”

Get the facts!

The Facts:
Obama met Wurzelbacher at a campaign stop outside Toledo, Ohio, on October 12, Wurzelbacher told Obama he was getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year and asked, “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Under Obama’s plan, taxes would rise for individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and families with incomes above $250,000.

Obama went into a lengthy explanation of his plan. He said he wants to cut taxes “a little bit more for the folks who are most in need; and for the 5 percent of the folks who are doing very well — even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that — I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts.”

He argued that if consumers had more money to spend, it would be good for enterprises such as a plumbing business. “Right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody, and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Wurzelbacher invoked a common small-business concern with Obama: that higher taxes compromise hard-earned profits. “I’ve worked hard. I’m a plumber. I work 10-12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American dream.”

He never told Obama at the time his idea “sounded like socialism.” But two days later, in an interview on Fox News, Wurzelbacher said, “he wants to distribute wealth. I’m not trying to make statements here. That’s kind of a socialist viewpoint.”

In an interview with CNN that aired October 16, Wurzelbacher clarified that the company he wants to buy makes well less than $250,000 a year — which, under Obama’s plan, means his taxes would not be increased.

McCain and Palin frequently refer to “Joe the Plumber” on the campaign trail. Since his encounter with Obama, Wurzelbacher has received much notoriety and has signaled his support for McCain.

Wurzelbacher told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham on October 24 that he’s considering a run for Congress in 2010. That would pit Wurzelbacher against longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for Ohio’s 9th District on the state’s northern border, which includes Toledo and Sandusky.

“I’ll tell you what, we’d definitely be in one heck of a fight, Marcy Kaptur definitely has a following in this area,” he said of the possibility. “But, you know, I’d be up for it.”

The Verdict: True. However, while Wurzelbacher has said Obama’s plan comes from a “socialist viewpoint,” [Mr. Wurzelbacher did not mention the word ‘socialism’ at the time of meeting with Obama.]

Source: CNN Political Ticker

Keith Olbermann feature:

The original JTP-Obama footage starts about 6:00 mins in :: commentary on JTP-Obama starts about 4:45 mins in :: It shows how McCain and Palin have whipped up a story out of details that were largely not in their favor :: Obama explains how his plan would be better for a small business like the one Joe hoped to own and Joe listened without ever telling Obama that his plan sounds like Socialism, as both Palin and McCain have claimed.

Angry but at what....

Joe Plumber: Angry but at what....

The all-out effort from John McCain’s presidential campaign to scare voters into backing the Republican candidate continued apace on Tuesday as McCain surrogate Joe the Plumber agreed that a Barack Obama presidency would mean the “death of Israel” and end democracy in America.

The Ohio plumber, who has no license and is actually named Samuel Wurzelbacher, spoke at a McCain campaign event in Columbus Monday. A McCain supporter asked if “a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel.” JTP hardly batted an eye.

“I’ll go ahead and agree with you on that,” Wurzelbacher said.

The push-back against Wurzelbacher’s comments began, somewhat unexpectedly, at Fox News.

The network noted that the McCain campaign seemed hesitant to distance itself from Wurzelbacher. Correspondent Carl Cameron said that the McCain campaign was going to put out an ad today criticizing Obama policies on Israel.

“Just a coincidence?” he asked. “We report you decide.”

Later Tuesday afternoon, Shepard Smith pressed Wurzelbacher on his comments, reminding the woefully misinformed McCain backer that Obama has consistently voiced support for Israel. Pressed several times to explain how he could agree with the conclusion that Obama would lead to the death of the Jewish state, Wurzelbacher was unable to come up with any good reasons aside from Obama’s position in favor of negotiating with rogue regimes such as Iran.

“You don’t want my opinion on foreign policy,” Wurzelbacher said. “I know just enough to kind of be dangerous.”

Smith seemed to agree with that assessment, implying that the only source for Wurzelbacher and the supporter’s concern was “hateful things spread on the Internet.” The host clearly worried that Wurzelbacher’s endorsement of such a view might inspire violence against the candidate.

Losing control and loving it !! McCain's swashbuckling camp.

Losing control and loving it !! McCain's swashbuckling camp.

Why, Smith asked, would Wurzelbacher believe Obama was lying when he spoke of the importance of Israel’s relationship with the United States.

Wurzelbacher was flummoxed. All he could offer was an appeal for people to “go out and find their own reasons … go out and get informed.”

If only the “plumber” had bothered to take his own advice before jumping onto the national stage. Smith, for his part, made sure to set his audience straight on the facts.

“I just want to make this 100 percent perfectly clear, Barack Obama has said repeatedly and demonstrated repeatedly that Israel will always be a friend of the United States, no matter what happens once he becomes President of the United States, his words,” Smith said after the interview ended. “The rest of it, man, it just gets frightening sometimes.”

Unvetted Joe the Plumber: Vote for Obama ‘death to Israel’

In Ohio, Wurzelbacher went on to reiterate McCain’s attempts to paint Obama as a socialist, The Associated Press reports.

    “I’m honestly scared for America,” Wurzelbacher said.

    He later said Obama would end the democracy that the U.S. military had defended during wars.

    “I love America. I hope it remains a democracy, not a socialist society. … If you look at spreading the wealth, that’s honestly right out of Karl Marx’s mouth,” Wurzelbacher said.

    “No one can debate that. That’s not my opinion. That’s fact.”

McCain’s campaign has used the “spread the wealth” line to attack Obama ever since the Democratic candidate used it to inartfully describe his tax proposals.

The attempts to compare Obama’s relatively modest restructuring of the progressive tax system to Marxism strikes most reasonable observers as patently absurd, but the attack seems to be all the foundering McCain campaign has left. Obama’s proposal would raise the tax rate on income above $250,000 from 36 to 39 percent and lower taxes for middle-class Americans.

McCain’s campaign also has heavily courted Jewish voters, who will be a crucial voting bloc in Florida and other swing states.

Wurzelbacher’s agreement that Obama would portend the death of Israel, though, seems to go beyond rhetoric the McCain campaign has employed so far. Until Tuesday, that kind of fear-mongering was mostly limited to right-wing blogs.

The McCain campaign said Wurzelbacher and the supporter’s views were there own regarding Israel, but they did not forcefully repudiate the attack, Fox News’s Carl Cameron reported just after the rally.

A Republican National Committee spokesman later gave Fox a longer statement that largely skirted the issue.

“While he’s clearly his own man, so far Joe has offered some penetrating and clear analysis that cuts to the core of many of the concerns that people have with Barack Obama’s statements and policies,” RNC spokesman Jeff Sadosky said. “Whether it is Obama’s willingness to sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or his plans to redistribute the paychecks of hardworking Americans, there is good reason to question the judgment that Obama would bring to the Oval Office.”

Cameron noted the statement “doesn’t say whether or not McCain agrees” with Wurzelbacher and the supporter and said McCain “won’t go too far” to distance himself from the man who’s become a campaign centerpiece.

Source: Raw Story

McCain and Palin rallied together today in Pennsylvania.

HERSHEY, Pa. (CNN) – John McCain unofficially declared this fair city a diva-free zone Tuesday.

In his first joint rally with running mate Sarah Palin since tension between their aides spilled into public view, McCain opened his remarks by declaring, “By the way, when two mavericks get together, you don’t agree on everything – but that’s fun!”

McCain has previously made similar comments at rallies about how he and Palin do not agree on everything, such as drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (McCain opposes, Palin supports).

But this time the comment had particular resonance with a large crowd here in Pennsylvania, coming just days after a McCain adviser privately charged to CNN that Palin is a “diva” who’s not staying on-message, while Palin advisers fired back that McCain aides botched her rollout to the American people.

The accusation is that John McCain has had more negative press than Barack Obama – and rightly this has been put into the context that – by far Obama has run a more positive campaign. Some of the McCain attacks have been so over the top that even Karl Rove had to pull back from them. Undoubtedly McCain has brought much of his negative media coverage on himself. Not forgetting all the crazy behavior at the Palin/McCain rallies. With all the remarks about the liberal media (at the GOP Convention and on the stump) – there has been no one who has been more negatively focused – than the one man campaign run by Hannity of the right-wing press – on Barack Obama. And I believe Palin has done at least two interviews with Sean Hannity – a safe place as the rest of the press is seen as being ‘after her’. It is doubtful that a Romney VP pick would have resulted in talk of the press being after him – because he knows what he is doing. He’s informed and Palin isn’t.

 [..] Reporters obsess about personalities and process, about whose staff are jerks or whether they seem like decent folks, about who has a great stump speech or is funnier in person than they come off in public, about whether Michigan is in play or off the table. This is the flip side of the fact of how much we care about the horse race — we don’t care that much about our own opinions of which candidate would do more for world peace or tax cuts.

If that causes skeptics to scoff, perhaps they would find it more satisfying to hear that the reason ideological bias matters so little is that other biases matter so much more.

This is true in any election year. But the 2008 election has had some unique — and personal — phenomena.

One is McCain backlash. The Republican once was the best evidence of how little ideology matters. Even during his “maverick” days, McCain was a consistent social conservative, with views on abortion and other cultural issues that would have been odds with those of most reporters we know. Yet he won swooning coverage for a decade from reporters who liked his accessibility and iconoclasm and supposed commitment to clean politics.

Now he is paying. McCain’s decision to limit media access and align himself with the GOP conservative base was an entirely routine, strategic move for a presidential candidate. But much of the coverage has portrayed this as though it were an unconscionable sellout.

Since then the media often presumes bad faith on McCain’s part. The best evidence of this has been the intense focus on the negative nature of his ads, when it is clear Obama has been similarly negative in spots he airs on radio and in swing states.

It is not our impression that many reporters are rooting for Obama personally. To the contrary, most colleagues on the trail we’ve spoken with seem to find him a distant and undefined figure. But he has benefited from the idea that negative attacks that in a normal campaign would be commonplace in this year would carry an out-of-bounds racial subtext. That’s why Obama’s long association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was basically a nonissue in the general election.

Journalists’ hair-trigger racial sensitivity may have been misplaced, but it was not driven by an ideological tilt.

In addition, Obama has benefited from his ability to minimize internal drama and maximize secrecy — and thus to starve feed the press’ bias for palace intrigue. In this sense, his campaign bears resemblance to the two run by George W. Bush.

Beyond the particular circumstances of McCain v. Obama, there are other factors in any race that almost always matter more than the personal views of reporters.

The strongest of these is the bias in favor of momentum. A candidate who is perceived to be doing well tends to get even more positive coverage (about his or her big crowds or the latest favorable polls or whatever). And a candidate who is perceived to be doing poorly tends to have all events viewed through this prism.

Not coincidentally, this is a bias shared by most of our sources. This is why the bulk of negative stories about McCain are not about his ideology or policy plans — they are about intrigue and turmoil. Think back to the past week of coverage on Politico and elsewhere: Coverage has been dominated by Sarah Palin’s $150,000 handbags and glad rags, by finger-pointing in the McCain camp, and by apparent tensions between the candidate and his running mate.

These stories are driven by the flood of Republicans inside and out of the campaign eager to make themselves look good or others look bad. This always happens when a campaign starts to tank. Indeed, there was a spate of such stories when Obama’s campaign hit turmoil after the GOP convention and the Palin surge.

For better or worse, the most common media instincts all have countervailing pressures. Countering the bias in favor of momentum is the bias against boredom. We’ve seen that several times this cycle — an outlying poll number being pumped to suggest big changes in a race that is basically unchanged. There’s a good chance you’ll see this phenomenon more in the next week.

Then there is the bend-over-backward bias. This is when journalists try so hard to avoid accusations of favoritism that it clouds critical judgment. A good example were stories suggesting Palin held her own or even won her debate against Joe Biden when it seemed obvious she was simply invoking whatever talking points she had at hand, hanging on for dear life.

Finally, one of the biases of journalists is the same one that is potent for almost all people: the one in favor of self-defensiveness. That’s why, even though we think ideological bias is pretty low on the list of journalistic maladies in this election, it is not viable for reporters to dismiss criticism out of hand.

One of the problems with Sarah Palin running in 2012 – is that she runs the risk of a very popular Obama presidency – if you read down – the Palin spokesperson/likely other Republicans are arrogant enough to assume that the Democratic economic policy will fail. But they have forgotten – that once they had finished attacking Clinton on the Lewinski affair – they were faced with the realization that they had no alternate agenda to attack Clinton on – as the economy had never grown as much in the whole of America’s history and the country’s debt was being systematically reduced. There is always going some variation in policy – and given the current economic climate – that the Republicans have left the country in – though on the whole Barack Obama intends adopt the Clinton type economic policies – which means taking things back to the basics.

One of the problems with these plans below – that it is based on the same arrogance and assumptions – that are causing the American people to overwhelmingly reject the Republican Party at this time. Under the Democrats we didn’t need a new debt clock – under both Bush’s the numbers on the debt clocks rise so fast – they have to be replaced each time. Saying that you are fiscally responsible and being fiscally responsible are two different things – over the last few elections the democrats have proven that they are better at this – and better at managing the economy than the Republicans.

So if Sarah Palin is going to run in 2012 against a wall of real change and economic growth, likely few will want to give Sarah Palin the US Presidency. Maybe she should wait until 2016; perhaps she’ll have a better chance, as well as she could show off her experience and knowledge – if she has the good sense to learn something in that time.

Sarah Palin may soon be free. Soon, she may not have the millstone of John McCain around her neck. And she can begin her race for president in 2012.

Some are already talking about it. In careful terms. If John McCain loses next week, Sarah Palin “has absolutely earned a right to run in 2012,” says Greg Mueller, who was a senior aide in the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes. Mueller says Palin has given conservatives “hope” and “something to believe in.”

And even if the McCain-Palin ticket does win on Nov. 4 — and Mueller says it could — “if McCain decides to serve for just one term, Sarah Palin as the economic populist and traditional American values candidates will be very appealing by the time we get to 2012.”

It is clear that while trying to bond with voters, John McCain and Sarah Palin have not managed to bond with each other. Perhaps we should not be surprised. They barely know one another.

When McCain appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Oct. 16, McCain praised Palin but went out of his way to point out how little he knew about her before he chose her as his running mate. “I didn’t know her real well,” McCain said. “I knew her reputation. I didn’t know her well at all. I didn’t know her well at all.”

The discomfort between the two can be palpable. Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director, was in the room when Brian Williams interviewed Palin and McCain recently. “There was a tenseness,” Todd said later. “When you see the two of them together, the chemistry is just not there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things? Blaming himself? Is she blaming him?”

I am guessing one and three. John McCain is blaming Palin for demonstrating her inexperience and lack of knowledge. And Palin is blaming McCain for running what she views as a bad campaign — a campaign that did not go after Barack Obama over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and did not exploit Obama’s statement about how small-town people “cling” to guns and religion — and for never picking a clear message that had any traction with voters.

But here’s the difference: If McCain loses, he doesn’t get to run again, and Palin does.

All that negative stuff about her? Charging Alaska taxpayers a per diem allowance for 300 nights she spent at home, flying her kids at state expense to events they were not invited to, accepting wildly expensive clothes from the Republican National Committee and, according to one ethics panel, having abused her office as governor?

Not only will all that have faded by the 2012 campaign, Palin already has her defense ready: Some of these accusations are part of a double standard that is applied to women and not to men.

She says Hillary Clinton ran into the same problem.

“I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race,” Palin told Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune recently. “Do you remember the conversations that took place about her — say, superficial things that they don’t talk about with men, like her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that, that’s a bit of that double standard. Certainly there’s a double standard.”

Palin went on: “But I’m not going to complain about it, I’m not going to whine about it, I’m going to plow through that because we are embarking on something greater than that, than allowing that double standard to adversely affect us.”

If she runs in 2012, Palin will run to shatter the glass ceiling. By then, Americans may have shown they are willing to vote for an African-American for president, but how about a woman?

Mueller thinks Palin would make a strong candidate. There certainly will be others jockeying for the job. And Mueller named Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

But Mueller thinks that, while some conservative intellectuals have deserted and derided Sarah Palin, the Republican base likes her and could stick with her.

“She would run in 2012 as the populist, conservative reformer that she was originally introduced to the country as,” Mueller said. “If Obama wins, you will see him moving the country to a sort of Euro-socialism. That will fail, and she can target an economic-populist message to the country.”

Mueller also argues that Palin could run a more convincing campaign on traditional conservative issues in 2012 than McCain has in 2008

“One weakness in McCain’s campaign is not campaigning on strong, pro-life, traditional values issues,” Mueller said. “There has been a certain level of discomfort over the years by McCain over guns, God and life issues.”

Mueller says McCain and Palin could still win next week. But if that happens, Mueller thinks Palin should get a lot of the credit. “A lot of conservatives are not excited by John McCain, even though I think he has been saying some good things,” Mueller said. “If they vote, they will vote for Sarah.”

And if not in 2008, maybe in 2012.

WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska’s dominant political figure for more than four decades, was found guilty on Monday by a jury of violating federal ethics laws for failing to report tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and services he had received from friends.

The jury of District of Columbia residents convicted Mr. Stevens, 84, on all seven felony counts he faced in connection with charges that he knowingly failed to list on Senate disclosure forms the receipt of some $250,000 in gifts and services used to renovate his home in Girdwood, Alaska.

Mr. Stevens, a consistently grim-faced figure, frowned more deeply as the verdict was delivered by the jury foreman, a worker at a drug counseling center. Mr. Stevens’s wife and one of his daughters sat glumly behind him in the courtroom.

In a statement issued after he had left the courthouse, Mr. Stevens was defiant, urging Alaskans to re-elect him to a seventh full term next week.

He blamed what he called repeated misconduct by federal prosecutors for the verdict. “I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have,” he said.

“I am innocent. This verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial,” he said. “I ask that Alaskans and my Senate colleagues stand with me as I pursue my rights. I remain a candidate for the United States Senate.”

Nonetheless, the verdict is widely expected to write an end to Mr. Stevens’s long political career, which has moved in tandem with his state’s rough-and-tumble journey from a remote territory to an economic powerhouse.

Mr. Stevens was instrumental in promoting statehood for Alaska when he was a young Interior Department official in the Eisenhower administration and then went on to represent the state in the Senate for 40 years. Over that time, he used his steadily accumulated influence over federal spending, notably using his membership on the Appropriations Committee, to steer millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in federal money to his home state.

The verdict comes a week before a second jury of sorts, the voters of Alaska, will decide whether to return him to the Senate or elect his Democratic opponent, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage. After Mr. Stevens’s indictment in July, he asked for a quick trial so he might clear his name before Election Day.

If Mr. Stevens loses his seat, the trial’s implications could be felt on a broad political scale, helping Democrats in their drive to win enough seats in the Senate to give them a filibuster-proof majority of at least 60 votes. Within an hour of the verdict’s becoming public, Democrats in Senate races around the country immediately sought to make the conviction an issue for their opponents, demanding that those who had received money from Mr. Stevens, who was generous with contributions to his colleagues, return it.

If Mr. Stevens wins and insists on keeping his seat, his fate will be in the hands of his Senate colleagues. A senator can be expelled only by a two-thirds vote of the entire Senate, so a conviction does not automatically cost a lawmaker his seat. Since 1789, only 15 senators have been expelled, most for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War, the Senate Web site states.

In 1982, the Senate Ethics Committee recommended that Senator Harrison A. Williams, Democrat of New Jersey, be expelled because of his conviction on bribery, conspiracy and conflict of interest charges in the Abscam scandal, and in 1995 the committee recommended the expulsion of Senator Robert W. Packwood, Republican of Oregon, for sexual misconduct. Both men resigned before the full Senate could vote.

Should Mr. Stevens be expelled or resign on his own, the Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, would most likely have to call a special election to fill the vacancy, according to state legal officials.

Ms. Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, issued a statement late Monday, saying she was “confident that Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska.”

Source: NYT

With nine days left before the presidential election, actor Matt Damon is trying to keep Americans fired up and eager to vote.

Damon is participating in the Florida VoteFest ’08 Sunday and Monday, a statewide initiative to encourage people to vote early.

“I took time off from acting until the end of the year to be with my family and enjoy our new daughter,” Damon told PEOPLE at a jam-packed Barack Obama rally Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla. “But it is very important for me to do what I can to help the Obama campaign so people will go out and vote. We need change in this country and now is the time to be sure that happens.”

HP

US FEMINIST KATHA POLLITT ON SARAH PALIN

‘Gender Alone Is Not Enough’

Activist and poet Katha Pollitt talks to SPIEGEL about the American women’s movement, her support for Barack Obama and the politics of the Republican vice-presidential nominee.

SPIEGEL: Ms. Pollitt, there used to be a joke in the women’s movement that equality would be achieved if a mediocre woman could have the same kind of career as a mediocre man. That’s the case now with Sarah Palin. Are you satisfied?

Pollitt: No! Sarah Palin wasn’t just picked because she is a woman, or because of her mediocrity. She is a fanatical opponent of abortion, and picking her is an attempt to get the evangelical Christian voters — who they have been tepid about McCain — into his camp. They might have voted for him anyway, but they might not have volunteered and donated and energized their friends and neighbors. That is different now because of Palin.

SPIEGEL: What excites people about Sarah Palin?

Pollitt: They feel that she is likeable. They can relate to her because she seems ordinary, warm, enthusiastic. If Sarah Palin was my neighbor, I might like her too — but as a potential President? It’s shocking to me that people would vote for someone because they think he or she is “like me.” Oh, Sarah Palin is a mom, I am a mom, so I will vote for her. That is irresponsible.

SPIEGEL: But with George W. Bush, Americans also voted for the guy that a lot of people would like to have a beer with.

Pollitt: Yes, and one would think that the past eight years have taught people that maybe it’s not a very good idea.

SPIEGEL: For the first time in American history, both parties have had viable female contenders in their Presidential campaigns — Hillary Clinton ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Sarah Palin is now running for Vice President. Does that represent progress for women?

Pollitt: I can answer that in two very different ways. In some long-view world historical sense, I could say: We might look back in 500 years and realize that 2008 was the year that women began to come into their own in American politics. But right now I see it a little differently. Hillary Clinton was a candidate who represented a certain liberal feminism. If she had become president, our abortion rights would have been safe. Clinton would have made sure that the anti-discrimination laws were enforced, and she would have financed a lot of programs that are good for women.

SPIEGEL: What about Sarah Palin?

Pollitt: With her, we would get the opposite. Other than in terms of her “girls can do anything” image, I don’t see that her political goals will do female voters any good.

SPIEGEL: Sometimes even female politicians who don’t consider themselves feminists can provide a positive influence: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a role model for many younger women who showed that women can wield power successfully.

Pollitt: Margaret Thatcher never said, “Vote for me because I am a wife and mother.” On the contrary, she didn’t present herself as relatable at all: She was the iron lady. Thatcher never made anything of her looks, she made very few concessions to conventional notions of femininity. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is all about those notions. She represents a very old image for America, the tough but beautiful frontier woman with a gun in one and and a baby in the other.

SPIEGEL: Still, Republicans are hoping to use Sarah Palin to attract female voters who were carrying Hillary Clinton’s torch …

Pollitt: I don’t think there are so many of these women, and I have looked pretty hard for them. You have a small group of Hillary fans who are extremely vocal. They really believe that Hillary Clinton was robbed of a nomination that was rightfully hers. These women have a whole narrative that puts the blame for Hillary’s loss on some combination of party skullduggery and media sexism. But most female Palin voters will be conservative white women who haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the race so far, and who identify with Palin. But they would have voted Republican anyway, if they had voted at all.

SPIEGEL: Well, did Hillary Clinton lose because of media sexism?

Pollitt: No, she made crucial mistakes in her campaign, and she bears responsibility for that. Still, one has to acknowledge that she had to face incredible sexism in public discourse. Jokes were made about her voice, and about her laugh, which was described as a “cackle.” There was a nutcracker in the shape of Hillary that crushed walnuts between its steely thighs, which was good for many a laugh. And when her eyes misted up for a moment on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, there were comments about whether she was fit to be commander in chief. They would never ask that about a man! You have to say that male fear of female power was very much on view with Hillary.

SPIEGEL: What about Sarah Palin?

Pollitt: There is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in the Republican party right now as far as their relationship to women is concerned. They complain constantly about the sexism that they had claimed didn’t exist where Hillary was concerned. Before John McCain chose Sarah Palin, a journalist friend of mine said he would never choose a woman — sexism is too deep in the Republican Party DNA. But he did pick her, so now we have seen that even the Republicans who are quite anti-feminist, can encompass having a woman in quite a powerful political position. But it was a strategic nomination which passed over many more qualified women, like the Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who happen to be pro-choice.

SPIEGEL: Hillary Clinton is two years your senior, and you both belong to the first generation of American women who were raised with feminist ideas. How has the women’s movement shaped American society?

Pollitt: It has changed the country very profoundly. When I went to Harvard in 1967, there was a five-percent quota on women in medical and law schools, there were ads in the newspapers, “jobs for men” and “jobs for women,” a married woman couldn’t get a credit card in her own name, there were states where a woman had to take her husband’s name, and for an unmarried woman it was very difficult to get birth control. Abortion was illegal — hundreds of women were killed or injured every year in back-alley or self-induced procedures. In just a few years, the women’s movement dismantled a whole legal structure of inequality, and, equally important, challenged the social practices and cultural assumptions behind those laws. It was an amazing historical moment.

SPIEGEL: How did you profit from it?

Pollitt: When I was a freshman, I saw the seniors get ready for their weddings. They would graduate, and then their weddings would be the next week. They had no moment to enjoy their freedom, to find out who they really were, to travel, and to learn to manage their own affairs. It was a lockstep life: college, marriage, kids …

SPIEGEL: … depression, divorce.

Pollitt: Exactly! All that had changed by the time I graduated four years later. Only a few of my classmates got married right away — instead, they went to medical school or law school or graduate school, they became activists or writers, like me. The lesbians came out of the closet. The women’s movement gave a lot of women — and men, too — the freedom to lead a different kind of life from their parents, to ask themselves, “What do I want to do with my life?” Feminism created a new normal.

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE

It is deeply ironic that Republican operatives are working so hard to tarnish the most dynamic voter participation in our country in decades—apparently to justify and camouflage their most organized attempt yet to deny Americans the right to vote. The right wing in our country is responding to the massive registration of new voters with a despicable, massive assault on voter participation.

The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the coordinated national effort by the Republican Party and allied political operatives to suppress voter turnout and deny ballots to newly registered voters, particularly young people, the poor and people of color.

The assault is taking many forms. By smearing voter registration groups such as ACORN with false charges of voter fraud, the Republican Party hopes to discourage new voters and divert attention from the issues that are motivating so many—the disastrous economic policies of the past eight years.

In state after state, Republican tactics are designed to create confusion and long lines at the polls to discourage and unnecessarily alarm voters.

In Ohio, where 800,000 new voters have registered this year, the Republican Party is filing lawsuit after lawsuit to purge from the rolls people whose information doesn’t match other public records—records that are widely acknowledged to be flawed.

In September, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State told election officials to reject registrations that do not pass a computer match process that is foiled by typos and other minor errors. In just three weeks, 75 percent of matching problems were found to be the result of administrative errors; others are still being checked.

Also in September, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, who co-chairs the state McCain campaign, filed suit against the state election board, seeking to challenge the registration, by his count, of tens of thousands of voters.

Just last week, the Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a lawsuit to force newly registered voters in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas to vote under challenge and cast provisional ballots that would not be counted Election Day.

Registrars in several states have been denying registration to students who give dorm room addresses. In Maryland, a registrar circulated a memo saying students registering to vote could lose financial aid and tax dependent status.

And in at least one state, the GOP stated it would challenge mortgage foreclosure victims’ right to vote when they appeared at the polls on Election Day.

What we are seeing now is just the first wave of voter suppression. We expect it will grow to include false information distributed in communities where Republican support is weak, intimidation and challenges of voters at the polls, lawsuits seeking to throw out voting results and a longer term escalation of the campaign for more voter suppression laws.

It is up to all of us to speak out and soundly reject this travesty. The AFL-CIO and other groups, including the NAACP, ACLU, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and the League of Women Voters, are responding with our biggest voter protection program ever. Some 1,400 lawyers have joined the AFL-CIO network of labor lawyers to travel into battleground states at their own expense to staff legal command centers and support the thousands of poll monitors who will assist people who have problems voting. In nine states, the AFL-CIO is educating voters about their rights, working with election officials about election administration and recruiting and training volunteer poll monitors and workers. We are referring voters to the toll-free voting rights hotline operated by the Election Protection coalition, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to check their registration and report problems. The AFL-CIO also is airing radio ads in targeted communities giving voters tips on how to protect their vote.

With vigilance and a major effort by a broad array of organizations, we are determined to make it easy, not hard, for every citizen to vote. We call on the McCain-Palin campaign to do more to stop the suppression of votes by any means, as well as stopping hateful smears and disinformation. And we urge the media to join the effort to make this a free and fair election by increasing careful reporting and editorial comment on voter suppression before, during and after the elections—and to help give voters confidence that their rights will be protected.

Source: The Hill

By AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

Former White House adviser Karl Rove, credited with winning two elections for President Bush, on Sunday said GOP nominee John McCain has a “very steep hill to climb” in his quest for the presidency.

Rove, who often puts a positive spin on things for the GOP, on “Fox News Sunday” offered a bleaker assessment of the state of the race from a Republican point of view. In his own electoral map, Rove has Democratic nominee Barack Obama ahead with 317 electoral votes after moving Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Virginia to the Illinois senator’s column.

The GOP analyst noted that McCain would have to turn things around in all four states and sweep the remaining toss-up states in order to win the necessary electoral votes to prevail.

“It’s a steep uphill climb,” he said.

Rove added that McCain could turn the race if he is only down up to six points in national points. However, with the RealClearPolitics average of national polls putting Obama ahead by eight points, Rove said it would be “difficult” to make up that ground.

“What he’s got to do is pound home on two big messages. One message is, ‘I’m right on the issues and he’s wrong when it comes to taxes and the war on terror, and I’m experienced and ready to be president, and whatever his strengths and skills are, he, Sen. Obama, is not ready to be president’,” Rove said. “And you’ve got to make that message in a handful of states and repeat it constantly and hope that your ground game on Election Day is able to give you a point or two more beyond what the polls show you having.”

The GOP strategist also commented on signs that there is dissension within the ranks of the McCain campaign, including stress between vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her handlers.

“It is a sign of undisciplined people who do not have the loyalty that they ought to have to the candidate whom they’re serving,” he said. “And it’s a sad sight to see. Nobody makes themselves look good by this process.”

Rove also acknowledged that this kind of infighting generally happens “in campaigns that are behind, and people want to make certain they escape with the best reputation they can.”

The Hill

A little like a swarm of bees ~ trying to sting Biden!!

Nothing else has worked, Ayers failed, and the host of other trash talk the McCain camp has put out as fact – has ended up on it’s ear with voters – so now the far-right of the Republican party are pushing the ‘new’ Marxist and Communism smear ~ as their final solution.

Though many moderates in the party wish to distance themselves from these scurrilous tactics ~ that fall way over the line of normal political banter.

That interview was almost as good as something you would see on Fox News – but sadly that reporter would have likely never got a job there – she’s just not pretty enough!

Palin follows in goose step with Evangelical far-right talking points – in suggesting that by restoring the same levels of tax most Americans paid under Reagan would somehow lead to a fully operational communist state.

Sarah Palin had a few memorable moments during her campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. But the most eye-opening of them all came, it would appear, when the Alaska Governor somehow drew a connection between Barack Obama’s tax policy and an encroaching, nightmarish, communist government. The Illinois Democrat, she hysterically suggested, would, through his proposals, create a country “where the people are not free.”

That yarn goes well beyond what Palin and McCain have, to this point, been comfortable asserting: mainly that Obama is proposing economic socialism. But there are a few things to keep in mind here: the McCain-Palin ticket does not oppose a progressive tax system. In fact, back in 2000, the Arizona Republican said rich people paid more in taxes because they could afford to do so:

Here’s what McCain would have said

    “I think the first people who deserve a tax cut are working Americans with children that need to educate their children,” he said, “and they’re the ones that I would support tax cuts for first.”

More importantly, Obama’s tax plans are less progressive than those in place during the Clinton years. In fact, the rates that people making over $250,000 would have to pay would be the same as during the 1990s — a time definitely not marked by the absence of freedoms.

Source: HP

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.