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Navy pilot John Sidney McCain III should have never been allowed to graduate from the U.S. Navy flight school. He was a below average student and a lousy pilot. Had his father and grandfather not been famous four star U.S. Navy admirals, McCain III would have never been allowed in the cockpit of a military aircraft.

During his relative short stunt on flight status, McCain III lost five U.S. Navy aircraft, four in accidents and one in combat.

More at ~ Vietnam Vets Against McCain

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McCain plans to go after Obama hard in the coming weeks – but what can he say that he has not already said. McCain’s best chance is to make this election about personalities – like – Palin looks great – vote for me !! But with the financial crisis – piled on top of 1 million home foreclosures – and almost 800,000 jobs lost this year alone – McCain is going to have a difficult time stirring this election back round to a personality contest!

Anyway McCain says he plans to let it all out – to remove the gloves – NEXT TUESDAY !!

Set your clocks folks for the Straight Talk Showdown!

Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama’s character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat’s judgment, honesty and personal associations, several top Republicans said.

With just a month to go until Election Day, McCain’s team has decided that its emphasis on the senator’s biography as a war hero, experienced lawmaker and straight-talking maverick is insufficient to close a growing gap with Obama. The Arizonan’s campaign is also eager to move the conversation away from the economy, an issue that strongly favors Obama and has helped him to a lead in many recent polls.

“We’re going to get a little tougher,” a senior Republican operative said, indicating that a fresh batch of television ads is coming. “We’ve got to question this guy’s associations. Very soon. There’s no question that we have to change the subject here,” said the operative, who was not authorized to discuss strategy and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Being so aggressive has risks for McCain if it angers swing voters, who often say they are looking for candidates who offer a positive message about what they will do. That could be especially true this year, when frustration with Washington politics is acute and a desire for specifics on how to fix the economy and fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is strong.

Robert Gibbs, a top Obama adviser, dismissed the new McCain strategy. “This isn’t 1988,” he said. “I don’t think the country is going to be distracted by the trivial.” He added that Obama will continue to focus on the economy, saying that Americans will remain concerned about the country’s economic troubles even as the Wall Street crisis eases somewhat.

Moments after the House of Representatives approved a bailout package for Wall Street on Friday afternoon, the McCain campaign released a television ad that challenges Obama’s honesty and asks, “Who is Barack Obama?” The ad alleges that “Senator Obama voted 94 times for higher taxes. Ninety-four times. He’s not truthful on taxes.” The charge that Obama voted 94 times for higher taxes has been called misleading by independent fact-checkers, who have noted that the majority of those votes were on nonbinding budget resolutions.

A senior campaign official called the ad “just the beginning” of commercials that will “strike the new tone” in the campaign’s final days. The official said the “aggressive tone” will center on the question of “whether this guy is ready to be president.”

McCain’s only positive commercial, called “Original Mavericks,” has largely been taken off the air, according to Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s performance at Thursday night’s debate embodied the new approach, as she used every opportunity to question Obama’s honesty and fitness to serve as president. At one point she said, “Barack Obama voted against funding troops [in Iraq] after promising that he would not do so.”

Palin kept up the attack yesterday, saying in an interview on Fox News that Obama is “reckless” and that some of what he has said, “in my world, disqualifies someone from consideration as the next commander in chief.”

McCain hinted Thursday that a change is imminent, perhaps as soon as next week’s debate. Asked at a Colorado town hall, “When are you going to take the gloves off?” the candidate grinned and replied, “How about Tuesday night?”

Yesterday in Pueblo, Colo., McCain made clear that he intends to press Obama on a variety of familiar GOP themes during the debate, as he accused the Democrat once again of getting ready to raise taxes and increase government spending.

“I guarantee you, you’re going to learn a lot about who’s the liberal and who’s the conservative and who wants to raise your taxes and who wants to lower them,” McCain said.

A senior aide said the campaign will wait until after Tuesday’s debate to decide how and when to release new commercials, adding that McCain and his surrogates will continue to cast Obama as a big spender, a high taxer and someone who talks about working across the aisle but doesn’t deliver.

Two other top Republicans said the new ads are likely to hammer the senator from Illinois on his connections to convicted Chicago developer Antoin “Tony” Rezko and former radical William Ayres, whom the McCain campaign regularly calls a domestic terrorist because of his acts of violence against the U.S. government in the 1960s.

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. appears to be off limits after McCain condemned the North Carolina Republican Party in April for an ad that linked Obama to his former pastor, saying, “Unfortunately, all I can do is, in as visible a way as possible, disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning.”

McCain advisers said the new approach is in part a reaction to Obama, whose rhetoric on the stump and in commercials has also become far harsher and more aggressive.

They noted that Obama has run television commercials for months linking McCain to lobbyists and hinting at a lack of personal ethics — an allegation that particularly rankles McCain, aides said.

Campaigning in Abington, Pa., yesterday, Obama continued to focus on the economy, even as he lashed out at McCain.

“He’s now going around saying, ‘I’m going to crack down on Wall Street’ . . . but the truth is he’s been saying ‘I’m all for deregulation’ for 26 years,” Obama said. “He hasn’t been getting tough on CEOs. He hasn’t been getting tough on Wall Street. . . . Suddenly a crisis comes and the polls change, and suddenly he’s out there talking like Jesse Jackson.”

Obama highlighted a new report showing a reduction of more than 159,000 jobs last month, and he linked the bad economic news to McCain and Palin.

“Governor Palin said to Joe Biden that our plan to get our economy out of the ditch was somehow a job-killing plan; that’s what she said,” Obama told a crowd of thousands. “I wonder if she turned on the news this morning. . . . When Senator McCain and his running mate talk about job killing, that’s something they know a thing or two about, because the policies they’ve supported and are supporting are killing jobs in America every single day.”

Before the bailout crisis, aides said, McCain was succeeding in focusing attention on Obama’s record and character. Now, they say, he must return to those subjects.

“We are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days,” said Greg Strimple, one of McCain’s top advisers. “We are looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama’s aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans.”

Mortgage crisis state by state

Mortgage crisis state by state

How could John McCain think the economy was sound ~ for who?

He has admitting in the past ~ not understanding the economy ~

And Palin is clearly clueless. She spent 88 days working as governor out of 19 months. Palin once walked in to a meeting of Alaska’s Mayors ~ where they had just taken a vote ~ on whether anyone of them had met with her ~ few raised their hands ~ the story goes that Palin entered the meeting spoke for a few minutes ~ then told everyone there she had to cut the meeting short as she was on her way to an anti-abortion rally. The whole thing is being to look way too maverick!

TERRY FINNEGAN
I am forced to admit a fatal fascination with Sarah Palin. I think that some very sharp Republican operatives have ensnared me in a magician’s trick. Boy, that ol’ maverick John McCain really gambled on this one. And it looks like he has come up all aces. Polls tighten, and Electoral College estimates swerve close enough to concern anyone hoping to end our current Bush nightmare.

So let’s review what is at stake. Maverick claims that only he can define victory in Iraq, regardless of Iraqi sentiment, U.S.-Iraq agreements, or popular yearnings. Maverick claims he will institute new energy initiatives after a career of voting down alternative energy development. Maverick claims that the Bush tax cuts are the only means to getting us out of our current economic woes, even though he vigorously opposed them seven years ago during a much stronger economic phase.

You can add your own list of horrors that we will continue to struggle with-health care, growing income inequality, warfare in place of diplomacy, torture, executive overreach, court appointees. But hand it to Karl Rove’s doppelganger-we are talking Sarah, not talking issues.

So the Republicans gamble all on a little known woman, hoping that her unseemly side stays hidden for 60 days. Let me posit an election guess. Somehow, the potential bombs that are strewn throughout her Alaskan story will fail to ignite. McCain will carry this newfound enthusiasm pulling down enough states to scare prayers out of Democratic secularists. However, he will not crack the glass ceiling of 270 electoral votes. He would need to run the table of all possible states in play and just like Gore and Kerry he will get tripped up somewhere. My guess would be Ohio as the Dems control the state voting apparatus this time.

So what gives with the Palin fascination? Mrs. Palin clearly shows how reckless Senator McCain has become, how little he is in personal control of his party’s agenda. Much has been made that her vetting was short on depth and length. He wanted Lieberman or Ridge, politicians who unfortunately were DOA for large segments of the Christian right. Who controlled this VP pick? Who is running the show?

What happens if Sarah Barracuda becomes president shortly after winning the election? Can anyone safely say? This election is not about the issues per the Republican campaign chief. Smart move, as focusing on the issues will bring the GOP nothing but electoral disaster.

I foresee a real possibility that Sarah Palin will blow up in the Republicans’ face. The pastiche she has cobbled together is full of holes. She “sold the plane on eBay”? No, she listed it there, but sold it at a loss through a broker. She said “thanks, but no thanks” to Congress on the bridge? No, in fact Alaska kept the money. She wants privacy for her pregnant daughter? Then why parade said daughter and fiancé in front of the nation?

Yes, my fatal fascination with Mrs. Palin has all the earmarks of watching a car crash. Will she escape serious harm? Troopergate? Whose-babygate? National Enquirer snooping? Will the entire charade blow up with some level of proof about their allegations of an affair? McCain’s gamble on the inexperienced Mrs. Palin is only troubling given that we have a scant two months to know if she can handle the job. It is possible that this gamble will backfire catastrophically and harm the Republicans for years. I’ll be watching closely, fatally fascinated, yet praying that Barack keeps his focus on the issues.

Source: Wednesday’s Journal