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President-elect Barack Obama brought in nearly $750 million for his presidential campaign, a record amount that exceeds what all of the candidates combined collected in private donations in the previous race for the White House, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Underscoring the success of his fund-raising, Mr. Obama reported that he had nearly $30 million in the bank as of Nov. 24, despite spending furiously at the end of his campaign.

Mr. Obama, who became the first major-party nominee to bypass public financing since the system began in the 1970s, spent more than $136 million from Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, the period covered in the report. By comparison, his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, who was limited to the $84 million allotted to him from the Treasury under public financing, spent $26.5 million during that time, according to his latest campaign finance report. Although Mr. McCain had $4 million left over, he had $4.9 million in debt, the report said.

Mr. Obama reported taking in $104 million in contributions. Assuming most of that money came in before Election Day, Nov. 4, it appears his fund-raising stepped up significantly as the campaign drew to a close. In the first half of October, he raised just $36 million.

An exact figure is difficult to calculate because of vagaries in the way fund-raising numbers are reported. But it appears that Mr. Obama raised over $300 million for the general election alone — more than triple what Mr. McCain had at his disposal from public financing.

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Sen. Saxby Chambliss wins the runoff in Georgia, denying the Dems a filibuster-proof majority. Saxby’s win reinforces McCain’s Georgia win and the GOP inroads into the South in the 2008 presidential election

All the time spent calling Obama a celebrity – it is a little amusing that the GOP ended up with one of their own – Sarah Palin – famous for being famous – over substance. Sarah as been quoted as saying she is ‘not doing this for nought’ – then we should expect 2012 is definitely on the cards. Trips to the library to study up on policy – well let’s hope these wont be nought!

Fresh off his runoff victory Tuesday night Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss credited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with firing up his base.

“I can’t overstate the impact she had down here,” Chambliss said during an interview Wednesday morning on Fox News.

“When she walks in a room, folks just explode,” he added. “And they really did pack the house everywhere we went. She’s a dynamic lady, a great administrator, and I think she’s got a great future in the Republican Party.”

Chambliss said that after watching her campaign on his behalf at several events Monday, he does not see her star status diminishing within the party.

The Republican also thanked John McCain and the other big name Republicans that came to Georgia, but said Palin made the biggest impact.

“We had John McCain and Mike Huckabee and Gov. Romney and Rudy Giuliani, but Sarah Palin came in on the last day, did a fly-around and, man, she was dynamite,” he said. “We packed the houses everywhere we went. And it really did allow us to peak and get our base fired up.”

But as Chambliss heaped praise on Palin and other big ticket Republicans that came to Georgia on his behalf, he questioned why President-elect Barack Obama would not use his star power to aid his Democratic opponent Jim Martin.

“I have no idea why he didn’t come down,” Chambliss said.

“His people were here. His organization was here,” he added. “They really did a good job in the general election of turning out people. And whatever their game plan was this time, if he had been here, I have no idea whether it would have worked better.”

Source: Politico

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Transcript:

At this Thanksgiving dinner I will toast some very, very wonderful things to be thankful for; my friends, family and supporters, the collapse of Republicanism, the humiliating implosion and utter failure of the Republican party and unregulated free market doo doo economics and the defeat of racism, fear mongering and paranoia- albeit by a margin too close for comfort. One of my hopes for future Thanksgiving toasts will be the death of the contemporary equivalent of racism- homophobia and maybe beyond that the relegation of Religion to the same fate as The Pet Rock.

The party that scrutinizes every single tax dollar to see that it doesn’t risk ending up in the hands of some shiftless minority or rebuilding and equipping public schools, providing health care to the working poor, cleaning up after corporate polluters, advancing clean energy, or any other horrible “communist” enterprise that might provide for the welfare of American citizens, has just financed their own failure with your money- tax payer money. More accurately, your labor and the labor of your children. The tax haters are in line for their hand outs.

Remember when Bush wanted to privatize Social Security? What a fuckin’ joke! More of that brilliant self-reliance fiscal bull shit. It has finally be laid out plain as the nose on your face- these low tax, free market, self reliant, moral giants are colossal frauds and intellectual neanderthals. They are stricken with an illness that prevents them from giving a shit about anyone but themselves. Fearful, violent witch hunters, empty moral midgets and ethical pygmies that protect themselves from themselves with denial, superstition and Religion and now tax dollars.

The cost of The Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, Race to the Moon, S&L Crisis, Korean War,The New Deal, Invasion of Iraq, Vietnam War, and NASA: TOTALS: $3.92 trillion dollars… Inflation Adjusted dollars!

The current Wall Street gamblers, liars and failures bailout is costing us $4.62 trillion dollars.

Universal health care, securing Social Security, providing books and supplies for our children’s class rooms, enhancing veteran’s benefits? Not a fuckin’ chance. Those are godless Communist programs. Picking up the tab for billionaires who lost money gambling on irresponsible bets and playing multi-billion dollar ponzi schemes? That’s the patriotic, self reliant thing to do. What better way to spend those evil, ill gotten tax dollars? Anyone but the poor and working class.

Never forget the Bush Cheney disaster and the crash of the Republican corporate free market, diaper changing ideology. You’re paying for it and will be for a long time. If we’ve learned our lesson, we can be thankful.

According to Rachel Maddow only MSNBC covered the McCain conference live ~ I guess Fox News wasn’t feeling up to it yesterday!

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The GOP selected Sarah Palin as its VP to stoke its base, but expanding that base should be the partys goal.

The GOP selected Sarah Palin as its VP to stoke its base, but expanding that base should be the partys goal.

In the wake of the Republican defeat, there has been much recrimination and finger-pointing over tactics and strategy. Was the Sarah Palin choice fatal? Should John McCain have suspended his campaign during the financial crisis?

But the larger issue is whether 2008 was a “realigning election” that went deeper than the candidates or the current issues. The jury is still out as to whether Democrats can turn one sweeping victory into a generation-long dominance of the White House. A key element in a possible structural shift favoring Democrats is the changing demographics of the electorate. The U.S. is growing bigger, increasingly diverse and more cosmopolitan — and the GOP seems on the wrong side of all these trends.

The United States is the only developed country that is projected to add lots of new residents by mid-century. In 2006, the nation’s population reached 300 million. The Census Bureau estimates that the U.S. will get to 400 million by 2039. To put this growth in perspective, consider that even China (yes, China) will not add 100 million people by that date. The U.S. will gain more new residents in the next three decades than the current population of Germany — the largest European Union nation.

With each decade, more than 22 million potential new voters will enter the electorate. Parties that fix on a strategy may find that it is unworkable in just a few cycles. The Republican Party’s idea of stoking its base to gain office assumes a somewhat static voting public, which, given the dynamic nature of American demographics, is a faulty notion.

So who are most of these new people? The quick answer is both recent immigrants and their American-born offspring. By 2043, the U.S. may be a majority minority nation. Another scenario is that a high rate of intermarriage among whites and minorities may open to question the whole notion of who is “majority.” The bottom line for Republicans is that no matter how this population is defined, an increasing number of current minorities are voting for Democrats.

Republicans can, of course, switch their strategy and make more direct appeals to minority voters. As recently as 2004, President George W. Bush almost won the Latino vote. But at the moment, the Republicans seem branded as the party of white people. Furthermore, much of the Republican base — especially those listening to talk radio — believe the U.S. is being flooded with immigrants (legal and illegal). It may be hard to pivot and embrace diversity without alienating the GOP base. By contrast, many whites in the Democratic Party are comfortable with diversity and now form a transracial coalition with minority voters.

As the U.S. expands and diversifies, it is becoming more urban. The Census finds that 83 percent of Americans live in metropolitan areas and that well over half live in regions with more than 1 million residents. By other calculations, two-thirds of people added by 2040 will settle in just 20 megapolitan areas — massive urban complexes that contain more than 5 million residents.

Were just the big metro areas to vote, the presidential race would be a rout every time. The Democrats dominate major urban regions. An analysis by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech found that Barack Obama won the votes in the nation’s top 50 metro areas — often by double-digit margins.

Worse for Republicans, in 2006 and 2008, Democrats significantly expanded the areas of the metros they won. Their electoral dominance has spilled out of cities and close-in suburbs and now reaches into the kinds of sprawling subdivisions that were once reliably Republican. The suburbs in key swing states such as Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia played a particularly decisive role in delivering the presidency to Democrats.

Republicans must adjust to the demographic shifts sweeping America or risk being politically marginalized. Most significantly, the party needs to recognize that there are simply not enough rural white voters to balance the growing number of minority voters and cosmopolitan whites living in big metro areas. If Republicans think 2008 went badly, try running the same kind of small-town-flavored campaign in 2020. At that point, the vastly expanded and racially diverse metro areas in Texas and Georgia could tip those once reliably red states to the Democrats.

Robert E. Lang is co-director of the Alexandria, Va.-based Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech and an associate professor in urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech’s School of Planning and International Affairs.

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11-20-2008-3-02-03-pm

TIME

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It was likely that Barack Obama genuinely believed that he would take or have to take public financing. But when the primary was unexpectedly extended, the Obama team saw their money raising potential - and more they knew they were going to need fist fulls of it - if they were going to have any real chance of defeating the Republican election machine. With Al Gore’s loss in 2000 and Kerry’s Swift-Boating back in 2004 – they concluded that public financing would place serious limits on their ability to act. And they were right. John McCain promised to run an honorable campaign, and without adequate finance – Obama would likely not be President-elect – as was McCain’s plan. It is doubtful that in 2012 the Republicans will allow themselves to be hamstrung by public financing either. They might be moaning right now - but they are also learning. It was just a little TKO!

President-elect Barack Obama and vanquished rival John McCain talked Monday about reforming parts of the political process, but they skipped a good governance issue of mutual interest over which they sparred bitterly during their campaign: fixing the public financing system.

Obama this summer said he was “firmly committed to reforming the system as president,” even as his reversal of a pledge to participate in it drew fire from McCain, editorial boards and campaign finance reform advocates, all of whom accused Obama of virtually killing the system.

Stephanie Cutter, a spokeswoman for the Obama transition team, said Obama and McCain “share a common belief that the system needs to be reformed,” but she said “they didn’t speak about it today.”

Instead, a different Obama aide said, the discussion focused on “a common sense of reform being needed” on government spending, earmarks, military procurement, corporate welfare, climate change, immigration and Guantanamo Bay, among other areas.

McCain’s Senate and campaign staffers did not respond to questions about why campaign finance reform wasn’t discussed, but it clearly is a sore point for the Arizona senator and his team. They believe Obama was never held to account for his public funding flip-flop, which put him at a huge cash advantage over McCain in the final months of the campaign.

McCain did participate in the system, which limits candidates to spending only the amount of a taxpayer-funded grant. This year, the grant was $84 million for the general election. Meanwhile, Obama’s historic fundraising effort pulled in well more than $640 million for the primary and the general, allowing him to dramatically outspend McCain on ads, offices and get-out-the-vote efforts.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, McCain blamed Obama’s rejection of public financing and his prolific fundraising for “completely breaking whatever idea we had after Watergate to keep the costs and spending on campaigns under control.”

McCain told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace in October that Obama had “unleashed now in presidential campaigns a new flood of spending that will then cause a scandal and then we will fix it again. But Sen. Obama has broken it. And he broke his word to me and the American people when he signed a piece of paper, when he was a long-shot candidate, that he would take public financing if I would.”

That was a reference to a questionnaire Obama submitted last year to a coalition of non-profit groups advocating a reduction in the role of money in politics.

The questionnaire, from the Midwest Democracy Network, asked, “If you are nominated for president in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”

Obama answered “Yes.” Then, in the space provided for comments, he wrote: “I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests.”

In response to another question, Obama wrote that he supported strengthening the public financing system, which was enacted after Watergate to minimize the corrupting influence of money on electoral politics.

Obama’s policy advisors still consider it a priority to revamp the public financing system, according to David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, a non-profit group that pushes for stricter campaign finance rules.

Obama’s “priorities Nos. 1, 2 and 3 are the economy, but I don’t think his commitment to (public financing) has changed,” said Donnelly. Still, Donnelly added “it’s important for him to take up this issue and show that he’s willing to follow through on his commitment.”

If Obama does champion campaign finance reform from the White House, McCain could be a key ally in Senate, predicted Donnelly, whose group during the campaign accused McCain of backing away from the issue.

McCain’s seminal legislative accomplishment was a 2002 overhaul of the campaign finance system, and for years before and after that, he sponsored legislation to revamp the public funding system. But Donnelly and other McCain critics accused McCain of shying away from campaign reform as he positioned himself for his 2008 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

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2/4 Barack and Michelle Obama on 60 Minutes

3/4 Barack and Michelle Obama on 60 Minutes

4/4 Barack and Michelle Obama on 60 Minutes

CHICAGO (AP) _ The bitter general election campaign behind them, President-elect Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain met Monday to discuss ways to reduce government waste, promote bipartisanship and find other ways to improve government.

President-elect Barack Obama, right, meets with Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, at Obama's transition office in downtown Chicago. AP Photo

President-elect Barack Obama, right, meets with Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, at Obama

The two former rivals met in Obama’s transition headquarters in Chicago. Obama said before the meeting that he and McCain planned “a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country, and also to offer thanks to Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he’s already rendered.”

Obama and McCain sat together for a brief picture-taking moment with reporters, along with Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s incoming White House chief of staff, and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain’s close friend. Obama and McCain were heard briefly discussing football, and Obama cracked that “the national press is tame compared to the Chicago press.”

When asked if he planned to help the Obama administration, McCain replied, “Obviously.”

After the meeting, Obama and McCain issued a joint statement saying:

    “At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time.”
    “It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family,” it said. “We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation’s security.”

Obama and McCain clashed bitterly during the fall campaign over taxes, the Iraq War, and ways to fix the ailing economy. Things got ugly at times, with McCain running ads comparing Obama to celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and raising questions about his rival’s distant relationship with a 1960s-era radical, William Ayers.

Obama’s campaign, meanwhile, labeled the 72-year old McCain “erratic” and ran a campaign ad falsely suggesting that McCain and Rush Limbaugh shared similar anti-immigration views.

McCain delivered a gracious concession speech on Election Night, paying tribute to Obama’s historic ascendancy as the nation’s first black president. The two agreed that night to meet after the election when McCain called Obama to concede defeat.

Source: AP

US President-elect Barack Obama meets with former Republican presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain at Obama's transition offices in Chicago. Obama extended a bipartisan olive branch by meeting his vanquished Republican rival John McCain Monday, but a cabinet job was not expected to be on offer

US President-elect Barack Obama meets with former Republican presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain at Obama

CHICAGO (AFP) – President-elect Barack Obama extended a bipartisan olive branch by meeting his vanquished Republican rival John McCain Monday, but a cabinet job was not expected to be on offer.

The meeting in Chicago between the victor of the November 4 election and the Arizona senator put substance to Obama’s promise of reaching out to old opponents as he crafts an expansive agenda for the next four years.

Before reporters were ushered out of the meeting at Obama’s transition headquarters, the president-elect anticipated a “good conversation about how we can work together to fix up the country.”

Obama said he would also “give thanks to Senator McCain for his outstanding service.”

Update: First word is that the meeting between Obama and McCain has been wrapped up.

According to reports, Obama’s transition team is conducting an in-depth vetting of the finances of his former primary rival Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton with a view to naming her his secretary of state.

Source: AFP

Click to enlarge+

Click to enlarge+

By FRANK RICH

ELECTION junkies in acute withdrawal need suffer no longer. Though the exciting Obama-McCain race is over, the cockfight among the losers has only just begun. The conservative crackup may be ugly, but as entertainment, it’s two thumbs up!

Over at Fox News, Greta Van Susteren has been trashing the credibility of her own network’s chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, for his report on Sarah Palin’s inability to identify Africa as a continent, while Bill O’Reilly valiantly defends Cameron’s honor. At Slate, a post-mortem of conservative intellectuals descended into name-calling, with the writer Ross Douthat of The Atlantic labeling the legal scholar Douglas Kmiec a “useful idiot.”

In an exuberant class by himself is Michael Barone, a ubiquitous conservative commentator who last week said that journalists who trash Palin (more than a few of them conservatives) do so because “she did not abort her Down syndrome baby.” He was being “humorous,” he subsequently explained to Politico, though the joke may be on him. Barone writes for U.S. News & World Report, where his 2008 analyses included keepers like “Just Call Her Sarah ‘Delano’ Palin.” Just call it coincidence, but on Election Day, word spread that the once-weekly U.S. News was downsizing to a monthly — a step closer to the fate of Literary Digest, the weekly magazine that vanished two years after its straw poll predicted an Alf Landon landslide over Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.

Will the 2008 G.O.P. go the way of the 1936 G.O.P., which didn’t reclaim the White House until 1952? Even factoring in the Democrats’ time-honored propensity for self-immolation, it’s not beyond reason. The Republicans are in serious denial. A few heretics excepted, they hope to blame all their woes on their unpopular president, the inept McCain campaign and their party’s latent greed for budget-busting earmarks.

The trouble is far more fundamental than that. The G.O.P. ran out of steam and ideas well before George W. Bush took office and Tom DeLay ran amok, and it is now more representative of 20th-century South Africa during apartheid than 21st-century America. The proof is in the vanilla pudding. When David Letterman said that the 10 G.O.P. presidential candidates at an early debate looked like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club,” he was the first to correctly call the election.

On Nov. 4, that’s roughly the sole constituency that remained loyal to the party — minus its wealthiest slice, a previously solid G.O.P. stronghold that turned blue this year (in a whopping swing of 34 percentage points). The Republicans lost every region of the country by double digits except the South, which they won by less than double digits (9 points). They took the South only because McCain, who ran roughly even with Obama among whites in every other region, won Southern whites by 38 percentage points.

Blue areas show Democrat gains.

Blue areas show Democrat gains.

Read it all….

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“On Monday, President-elect Barack Obama and Senator John McCain will meet in Chicago at transition headquarters,” Obama Transition spox Stephanie Cutter just announced. “It’s well known that they share an important belief that Americans want and deserve a more effective and efficient government, and will discuss ways to work together to make that a reality.”

McCain ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., Obama’s incoming White House chief of staff, will be there. Graham and Emanuel worked well together on negotiating the presidential debates.

In May, Obama alluded to putting McCain in his Cabinet when discussing how former President Abraham Lincoln put rivals in his Cabinet.

“Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his Cabinet because whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was how can we get this country through this time of crisis,” Obama said. “And I think that has to be the approach that one takes, whether it’s vice president or Cabinet, whoever, and by the way that does not exclude Republicans either. You know my attitude is – is that whoever is the best person for the job is the person I want.”

Obama had been answering a question about naming Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, as his running mate, but he added, “if I really thought that John McCain was the absolute best person for the Department of the Homeland Security, I would put him in there. I would, if I thought that he was the best. Now, I’m not saying I do. I’m just saying, that’s got to be the approach that you take because part of, part of the change that I’m looking for is — is to make sure that we, we’re reminded of what we have in common as Americans. We spend so much time, our politics is all built around trying to divide us.”

There is no indication Obama intends to offer McCain a position in his Cabinet, or that McCain would accept, but the two are expected to discuss areas where they can work together — the environment and national service, for instance.

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‘Good Morning America’s’ Chris Cuomo Grills ’60s Radical Bill Ayers

William Ayers, the 1960s radical whose violent history became a focal point in the 2008 presidential election, said today that the Republicans unfairly “demonized” him in an attempt to damage the campaign of President-elect Barack Obama.

Ayers remained militant in his defense of his bomb-throwing past and repeated a statement that has infuriated his critics: “I don’t think we did enough.”

The college professor also argued to “Good Morning America’s” Chis Cuomo today that the bombing campaign by the group he helped found, the Weather Underground, was not terrorism.

The Weather Underground bombed the Capitol, the Pentagon and the New York City Police Department to protest the Vietnam War.

“It’s not terrorism because it doesn’t target people, to kill or injure,” Ayers insisted.

Ayers became a bogeyman for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, who demanded to know more about Obama’s relationship with his Chicago neighbor. Palin accused Obama of “palling around … with a terrorist.”

Breaking his silence, Ayers told Cuomo that the GOP attack was a “dishonest narrative…to demonize me.”

He added, “I don’t buy the idea that guilt by association should have any part of our politics,” he said.

Ayers scoffed at the Republican effort to make his ties to Obama appear suspicious.

“This idea that we need to know more, like there’s some dark, hidden secret, some secret link,” Ayers said. “It’s a myth thrown up by people who want to exploit the politics of fear.”

But he was unapologetic about his militant actions during the Vietnam War.

“What you call the violent past, that was a time when thousands of people were being murdered every month by our own government… We were on the right side,” he told “GMA.”

The co-founder of the Weather Underground was, as McCain has claimed, unrepentant about the the bombings his group committed during the 1960s.

“The content of the Vietnam protest is that there were despicable acts going on, but the despicable acts were being done by our goverment… I never hurt or killed anyone,” Ayers said.

“Frankly, I dont think we did enough, just as today I dont’ think we’ve done enough to stop these wars,” he said.

Ayers Says He Is ‘Family Friend’ of Obama
Ayers did soften his stand on violence during the “GMA” interview.

“We knew it was wrong. We knew it was illegal. We knew it was immoral,” he said, but they felt they “had to do more” to stop the Vietnam war.

He urged people today “to participate in resistance, in nonviolent,direct action” to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ayers, 63, currently a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, became a political piñata for McCain, R-Ariz., and Palin during the presidential campaign.

Despite Obama’s attempt to portray their relationship as a distant one, Ayers, in a new afterward to his book “Fugitive Days,” describes Obama as a “neighbor and family friend.”

On “GMA,” Ayers again downplayed any close ties to Obama despite the reference to”family friend.”

“I’m talking there about the fact that I became an issue, unwillingly and unwittingly,” he said. “It was a profoundly dishonest narrative… I’m describing there how the blogosphere characterized the relationship.”

“I would say, really, that we knew each other in a professional way on the same level of, say, thousands of other people,” he said.

He added, echoing a phrase that Obama used to describe Ayers, “I am a guy around the neighborhood.”

Ayers acknowledged that he held a reception in his home when Obama began his political run for state office.

“He was probably in 20 homes that day,” Ayers said.

During the campaign, Obama tried to defuse the Ayers issue by condemning Ayers’ past actions as “detestable.”

“The notion that … me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense,” Obama argued.

Sarah Palin Still Concerned About Ayers Tie
Ayers made a point of remaining silent during the presidential race, but his proximity to Obama was highlighted on Election Day when the two men nearly ran into each other in the same polling place. As recently as Wednesday, Palin was still raising the Ayers’ issue, telling NBC that she was still concerned about Obama’s relationship to the former radical. Palin was the fiercest critic of the Obama-Ayers tie, accusing Obama of “palling around with a domestic terrorist.” Ayers was a co-founder of the Weather Underground, a radical anti-war group said responsible for a militant bombing campaign against government targets.

While he was a fugitive, he married Bernardine Dorhn, another member of the Weather Underground.

Obama and Ayers have several connections. The two men have also served on boards together, including the Woods Fund of Chicago and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

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After much anticipation from a room full of reporters and other curiosity-seekers, Sarah Palin this morning took four questions from reporters in a press conference that lasted 11 minutes.

Actually, taking away Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s opening statement, the session lasted under 10 minutes.

Palin was on stage with 13 other Republican governors — all men — who received zero attention from the assembled crowd.

After the third question, an RGA aide tried to end the session but Perry interjected and allowed for a fourth question.

Palin sought to deflect attention from herself and talk about the governors as a group, but all the questions centered on her past and future.

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Ron Paul strikes again!

John McCain joked with Leno Tuesday that his defeat was the media's fault.

John McCain joked with Leno Tuesday that his defeat was the media's fault.

Making his first public comment a week after he lost the election to Barack Obama, John McCain joked with “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that his defeat was “all the press’ fault” and that he’s “ready to go again” in 2012.

McCain’s appearance, which was tied to Veteran’s Day and follows two days of televised interviews with his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was to air later Tuesday night on NBC stations.

In keeping with the Veteran’s Day creed of remaining a “good soldier,” McCain refused to place any blame for his loss on Palin and offered several familiar refrains about his running mate and the campaign.

“The one thing I think Americans don’t want is a sore loser,” he noted after Leno tried several times to corner him about Palin’s reported problematic behavior, the media’s perceived tilt toward Obama and other issues that plagued his run for the White House. “I’m a fighter,” he said, with a laugh. “I knew I had a headwind. I can read the polls. They tried to keep them away from me. But I knew we had a real headwind.”

McCain said that since the election ended he’s been “sleeping like a baby — I sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours. . . .” He seemed relaxed and comfortable, happy to be rid of the Secret Service protection that guarded him 24/7 as a candidate and amused at all the post-mortems that have filled the papers and cable news shows after the race ended.

Asked the main reason he lost, he joshed that it was because of his “personality — maybe too many people saw me on the Jay Leno show.” The late night host did prod him about the dichotomy of his personality during the campaign, however, and how the amusing and friendly McCain seen on Saturday Night Live and the Al Smith dinner contrasted so sharply with his often gruff and angry posture on the stump. “These are tough times,” McCain replied. “People didn’t want a stand-up comic.”

Among other subjects discussed during The Tonight Show appearance:

*Anonymous McCain campaign aides critical of Palin:

    “I think I have at least a thousand quote top advisers. [It's always] ‘a top adviser said. . . ‘ [They're probably] people that I’ve never even heard of, much less a top advisor or a high-ranking Republican official. These things go on in campaigns and you just move on. I’m just very proud to have had Sarah Palin and her family, a wonderful family [join the campaign.]”

*Joe Lieberman’s future in Congress:

    “One of the finest, most wonderful men I’ve ever known in my life. . . . I obviously don’t know what’s going to happen. On national security issues, he’s really really good. . . I think that Joe will remain what he is: an independent who stands up for what he believes in. And we need more people like that. “

*Joe the Plumber:

    “I loved him, a great guy. I got to know him a bit. He’s the classic American trying to get ahead, trying to make it. I’m not kidding you, because we took polls all the time, that guy went from zero to 70% in name ID in 48 hours. It was amazing, amazing.”

*Running again in 2012:

    “I wouldn’t think so, my friend. It’s been a great experience and we’re going to have another generation of leaders come along.”
    *The GOP’s future: “Our party has a lot of work to do. We just got back from the woodshed.”

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McCain on Jay Leno: Reflects campaign experience

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NEW YORK — All ears were listening to US President-elect Barack Obama’s victory speech this week but fashion-watchers were looking closely at his wife Michelle’s dress — and the verdict was not so good.

Michelle Obama, wife of US president-elect Barack Obama, and Jill Biden, wife of US vice-president-elect Joe Biden, walk on stage during their election night victory rally. — AFP Despite comparisons during the campaign to stylish 1960s first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Michelle Obama was derided in opinion polls for her choice of a black and neon-red dress from Narciso Rodriguez’s spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection.

In an online poll by USA Today, 65% of more than 10,000 readers believed the Harvard-educated corporate lawyer and future first lady “had an off day” and 35% said “She looks fantastic as always.” An online poll by People magazine mirrored those results, while a Los Angeles Times online poll found 45% hated the dress and 34% loved it.

“The normally impeccable Michelle O made a questionable choice for her husband’s historic election night victory,” wrote Lesley Scott, editor of fashion and lifestyle blog www.fashiontribes.com. “It’s less than flattering.”

“However, every fashionista worth her salt takes risks,” Ms. Scott said, “which means the occasional misstep.”

Not everyone disliked Ms. Obama’s choice, which was shown on the catwalk only two months ago and is not yet available in stores. New York magazine hailed Ms. Obama for being able to hold her own against France’s first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a former supermodel.

“We have a feeling she’ll continue to mix affordable pieces with designer pieces as First Lady, but this wardrobe choice proves this woman knows fashion and we have an exciting four years of political fashion ahead of us,” the magazine said. “What will she choose for the inaugural ball? The suspense is so exciting! And you know what else is great about this? We don’t have to envy France for Carla Bruni anymore!”

Michelle Obama, wife of US president-elect Barack Obama, and Jill Biden, wife of US vice-president-elect Joe Biden, walk on stage during their election night victory rally. — AFP

Michelle Obama, wife of US president-elect Barack Obama, and Jill Biden, wife of US vice-president-elect Joe Biden, walk on stage during their election night victory rally. — AFP

“That dress was unpretentious,” Julie Gilhart, fashion director of New York’s top-price Barneys clothing store, told the Times. “It said, ’Be who you are — don’t let someone else tell you how to be.’”

The Italian daily La Stampa dubbed the dress “the look of victory” and said the black symbolized mourning for Obama’s grandmother, who died on the eve of the election, while the red was for passion.

A contributor to the Web site of the German newsweekly Focus also suggested there was hidden meaning in the colors, perhaps red for the political left and black for the first African-American to win the US presidency.

“It is more about the symbolic effect of the color combination red/black. Because the daughters were also in red or black. Very unusual and surely no accident,” the reader said.

Narciso Rodriguez’s spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection.

Narciso Rodriguez’s spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection.

Others were dismissive, describing the subject as superficial besides the historic importance of Barack Obama’s election win.

“The USA must be doing pretty well if it is worrying about the First Lady’s dress!” one typical Focus posting said.

Interest in Obama’s fashion has soared since she won particular praise for the purple sheath dress and black belt she wore in June when her husband clinched the nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.

While Republican candidate John McCain’s wife Cindy and his vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin drew criticism for their high-end wardrobes, Ms. Obama won fans for affordable style. Ms. Obama wore a $150 dress on The View talk show, which became an instant hit. For The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, she donned an outfit from chain store J.Crew.

She has even inspired a Web site — http://www.mrs-o.org — dedicated to taking “a regular look at what and who she’s wearing” and encouraging enthusiasm for “the budding style icon, Mrs O.”

Ms. Obama already has a fashion track record, appearing in Vogue and being named twice on Vanity Fair’s international best-dressed list.

Reuters/AFP

Headzup: Sarah Palin’s Closing Argument

Headzup: Palin In 2012

Headzup: McCain Responds To Obama Infomercial

Headzup: Sarah Palin’s $150,000 Shopping Spree

The Week In Cartoons 10/25/08

Breaking here

‘Sarah Palin Didn’t Really Wear Well’

‘They Had a 50-State Strategy’

‘It’s Kind of a Paradox’

Not ‘Enough Strategic Thinking’

‘Really Reach Out to the Other Side’

palin-bright-future450

According to Carl Cameron of Fox News – insiders at the Mccain camp stated that Palin wasn’t aware that Africa was a continent, as she believed Africa was a country. Itappears Palin did not know anything about the NAFTA trade agreement – that she would not prepare for interviews like the now famous Katie Couric -

If Palin thought that Africa was a country – then it would make sense that one could get foreign policy experience – by merely being close to – or as she put it being able to see Russia from her state –  

There were some who said that – it wasn’t that Palin simply made mistakes during he interviews - that what was worst is that she didn’t understand the question.

Powell, endorses, Obama, Iraq, transformational, figure, security, Campaign, McCain, victory, win, president, Attacks, Colin, inclusive

2008-11-04-mccainobamastate

 

Karl Rove’s predicted electoral map was correct with a few exceptions - North Carolina and Indiana narrowly went to Obama – but then there is a toss up +/-3% allowance that should cover this.

11-5-2008-7-04-38-am

Festivities are underway at the Arizona Biltmore hotel, the same spot where John McCain celebrated his Super Tuesday victories that led to his party’s nomination.

McCain 2008
Supporters watch early returns as they attend an election night rally for John McCain in Phoenix on Tuesday. (AP)

As of 9 p.m. EST, the Arizona senator remained at his condominium in Phoenix. The sprawling hotel was flooded with thousands of well-dressed supporters from all over the country.

With Obama’s electoral vote count widening, McCain’s supporters remained faithful. “We’re confident the `Mac is Back,’ as they say,” supporter Don Baker told the Associated Press.

It’s not hard to find where the speech will be delivered. Massive flood lights from the lawn beam up into the sky. The campaign’s signature star and “Country First” logo adorn everything in sight.

The location has particular significant for McCain–it is where he celebrated his marriage to wife, Cindy, 28 years ago.

But even the people who are here won’t necessarily get to see the speech in person. The majority of the audience will be in a huge ballroom, watching McCain’s remarks on a massive television screen. In the interim, a band is playing and the drinks are flowing.

McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, arrived in Arizona later than scheduled. Her staff and traveling press arrived around 8 p.m. EST, looking worn from the long flight to and from Alaska. Palin has returned to her home state to cast her ballot before joining McCain in Arizona.

Source: WSJ

NBC political director had this to say about South Carolina in his pre-election roundup:

    South Carolina: What is going on in South Carolina? We have polling indicating that the presidential race might be fairly competitive. The surge in African-Americans could make South Carolina one of the surprises of Election Night. My guess is that McCain holds on but don’t be surprised if we can’t call the state at poll close.

He was right about that last part, but it didn’t take too long: The network has called the state for the Republican presidential candidate

Source: ::::

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

r-obamawave-large

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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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

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

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