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A perplexing new chapter is unfolding in Barack Obama’s racial saga: Many people insist that “the first black president” is actually not black.

Debate over whether to call this son of a white Kansan and a black Kenyan biracial, African-American, mixed-race, half-and-half, multiracial _ or, in Obama’s own words, a “mutt” _ has reached a crescendo since Obama’s election shattered assumptions about race.

Obama has said, “I identify as African-American _ that’s how I’m treated and that’s how I’m viewed. I’m proud of it.”

In other words, the world gave Obama no choice but to be black, and he was happy to oblige.

But the world has changed since the young Obama found his place in it.

Intermarriage and the decline of racism are dissolving ancient definitions. The candidate Obama, in achieving what many thought impossible, was treated differently from previous black generations. And many white and mixed-race people now view President-elect Obama as something other than black.

So what now for racial categories born of a time when those from far-off lands were property rather than people, or enemy instead of family?

Read more..

Obama sought to reassure the nation that while he occasionally sneaked a cigarette during the rigorous presidential campaign, he won’t succumb to such temptations in the White House:

Obama was asked — as he occasionally is, most recently by ABC’s Barbara Walters — whether he still sneaks a cigarette now and then. He suggested he does, but said he won’t at his new address.

    “What I said was that there were times where I have fallen off the wagon,” Obama said. “What I would say is that I have done a terrific job under the circumstances of making myself much healthier, and I think that you will not see any violations of these rules in the White House.”

Source: Huffington Post

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As President Bush prepares to move into his new Dallas home at the end of his term, neighborhood residents worry about having him close by.

One woman shared her fears as she walked past Bush’s house carrying her King Charles cocker spaniel on Friday. 

“I am afraid with all the negative press the president has been getting, the whole neighborhood is going to be a target,” said the woman, who refused to give her name.

Traffic has already begun to clog the narrow streets around the home, causing neighbors to call the police — who expect the hullabaloo to continue.

“When the Bushes are here full time, I imagine we’ll be here full time,” said Officer Michael Bratcher of the Dallas Police Department, who was directing traffic.

But the exclusive Dallas community the Bush family will soon join has a troubled history of its own.

Until 2000, the neighborhood association’s covenant said only white people were allowed to live there, though an exception was made for servants.

Enacted in 1956, part of the original document reads: “Said property shall be used and occupied by white persons except those shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of different race or nationality in the employ of a tenant.”

The entire covenant can be seen here.

When asked about his new home in an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Bush “played coy.”

“Mr. President — you excited about your house in Dallas?” Todd Gillman asked.

“Todd, why do you care?” Bush responded. “You live in Washington, D.C.”

The neighborhood is home to many famous people, including former presidential candidate Ross Perot and Mark Cuban, the billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner.

President Bush’s new house abuts the 14-acre lair of real-estate investor Gene Phillips, who just had a trout-filled lake installed on his property.

Dubyas new digs!

Dubyas new digs!

Click to Enlarge+

Source: RawNews, SmokingGun

Palin does interview with Greta at Fox News

Palin does interview with Greta at Fox News

Sarah Palin sat down with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren to discuss the 2008 campaign and her political future. The wide-ranging interview covered such familiar topics as the $150,000 spent on Palin’s wardrobe for the campaign, as well as the report that she was unable to name all the countries in North America and did not understand that Africa is a continent rather than a nation. Palin denied any knowledge of the RNC’s extravagant clothing bills, going so far as to say that she’s never set foot in a Neiman Marcus (one of the upscale stores where the RNC racked up a $75,000 bill). Palin also denied the report that she was unaware Africa is a continent.

The governor also lashed out at bloggers “sitting in their parents’ basement, wearing their pajamas” for some of the questions that were raised about her record and credibility. She was particularly incensed at the questions that were floated about whether or not she was the mother of her youngest son, Trig.

A gift for Sarah Palin as winking and nodding may not always be enough!

A gift for Sarah Palin as winking and nodding may not always be enough!

Palin refused to say whether she was planning a run for the White House in 2012, but the devoutly faithful governor said she would wait for a sign from God, and that she is confident God would show the way to the White House.

    Faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator’s hands – this is what I always do. I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don’t let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I’ll plow through that door.

Palin puts faith in God for 2012

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Fox News Greta Van Susteren interviews Sarah Palin Part 1

Fox News Greta Van Susteren interviews Sarah Palin Part 2

Fox News Greta Van Susteren interviews Sarah Palin Part 3

Source: HP

11-10-2008-11-11-20-pm

President-elect Barack Obama has informed party officials that he wants Joe Lieberman to continue caucusing with the Democrats in the 111th Congress, Senate aides tell the Huffington Post.

Obama’s decision could tie the hands of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has been negotiating to remove Lieberman as chair of the Homeland Security and Government Reform committee while keeping him within the caucus. Lieberman has insisted that he will split from the Democrats if his homeland security position is stripped.

Aides to the president-elect did not return requests for comment. Senate officials were unclear whether Obama would be comfortable with Lieberman maintaining his current committee post.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he would welcome Lieberman into the GOP, though he has little to offer in terms of committee assignments.

If Lieberman were to continue caucusing with the Democrats without being punished for his campaign conduct — Democrats say he broke a promise not to campaign negatively against Obama — the progressive community will undoubtedly be up in arms. For Obama, however, the move may be a shrewd gesture towards reconciliation, in the process taking a potentially taxing political fight off the table.

Fellow Connecticut Senate Chris Dodd, who has spoken out in favor of Lieberman remaining in the party, explained as much to reporters on Friday:

“What does Barack Obama want?… He’s talked about reconciliation, healing, bringing people together. I don’t think he’d necessarily want to spend the first month of this president-elect period, this transition period, talking about a Senate seat, particularly if someone is willing to come forward and is willing to be a member of your family in the caucus in that sense.”

A Democrat close to Lieberman, meanwhile, said he thought that keeping Lieberman in the fold “would be a good move for Obama as a way to make real his promise of new politics, a less partisan Washington and more unity. He would do so at some risk. Obviously there is a liberal wing of the party that wants Joe punished… “

There is, perhaps, one measure by which Democratic leadership can still reconcile the competing realities of Lieberman’s future in the caucus. One Democratic aide said that the party was considering letting the Connecticut Senator keep his post at homeland security but forcing him to relinquish one or both of his spots on two more high-profile committees: Armed Services and Environment & Public Works.

Lieberman is in line for leadership roles in both of those committees should the current chairs leave their posts. On Armed Services, the two senators ahead of him are Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd. On Environment and Public Works, current chair Barbara Boxer may face a tough reelection campaign in 2010 and second in line, Sen. Max Baucus, already heads another committee.

If Democratic leadership were to keep Lieberman on homeland security but impede any chance of ascending to these other posts, that may be enough to placate progressive activists demanding punishment while keeping the Connecticut Senator in the caucus.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo writes that Bill Clinton has also been “making calls on Sen. Lieberman’s behalf,” something that the Huffington Post later heard from another Hill source.

But Matt McKenna, a spokesman for the former president, vehemently denies the report.

“It’s completely false,” he says.

Source: HP

11-10-2008-10-32-30-pm
Looks like Barack Obama is looking to use the opportunity to pick George Bush’s mind, somehow George Bush looks a little vulnerable!

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, received a warm welcome at the White House shortly before 2 p.m. Eastern time by the current occupant, President George W. Bush, a man with whom he expressed a sea of differences during the just-ended election campaign. When the president and Mrs. Bush greeted the Obamas at the driveway on the South Lawn, the women hugged and their husbands shook hands, with Mr. Obama using the two-handed greeting common among senators, with his left hand on Mr. Bush’s right arm during the handshake. The two men were dressed almost identically in dark blue suits, white shirts and blue ties. Ms. Bush wore a brown suit, and Ms. Obama a burnt-orange dress.

A few minutes after the couples entered the White House together, Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama reemerged and strolled along the colonnade past the Rose Garden to the outer entrance to the Oval Office. Mr. Obama walked just at Mr. Bush’s shoulder and appeared to be speaking animatedly, gesturing with both hands. Each of the men waved several times to reporters and others off camera.

While Ms. Bush showed Ms. Obama the White House, their husbands met for just over an hour in the Oval Office, discussing the transfer of power from Mr. Bush’s conservative Republican administration to a presumably much more liberal Democratic leadership.

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Mr. Obama saw the Oval Office in person for the first time, just 10 weeks before he will make history by returning as its first black occupant. A physical reminder of the coming change was provided by construction equipment gathered in Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the north side of the White House. The equipment is soon to be put to work building glass-fronted, heated viewing stands where the Obama team will view the inaugural parade on Jan. 20.

As the capital swirled with talk of an expanded bailout package for the troubled American International Group, of unemployment figures that continue to swell, of deep trouble in the auto industry and the urgent financial summit to be convened later this week by Mr. Bush, some of the more pressing issues awaiting discussion by the two leaders on Monday afternoon seemed clear. Similarly, two wars — on which the president and president-elect differ considerably — will demand careful and delicate coordination. As the Obamas were arriving at the White House, several hundred protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue chanted “No More Wars” as they waved signs condemning President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Mr. Obama, who does not plan to attend the financial summit, has said he expected a “substantive conversation” with Mr. Bush on Monday. Such first meetings are governed by no rules but are deeply immersed in tradition. Neither man was expected to issue any extended statement after the meeting, which is taking place unusually early in the transition period.

Josh Bolten, the president’s chief of staff, said on Monday morning that the president and president-elect will be alone in the Oval Office when they meet, without aides present.

“I’m sure each of them will have a list of issues to go down,” Mr. Bolten said during a televised interview with reporters from The Associated Press and The Washington Post. “But I think that’s something very personal to both of them. I know the president will want to convey to President-elect Obama his sense of how to deal with some of the most important issues of the day. But exactly how he does that, I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody will know.”

Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama have had relatively little personal contact before now, and by some accounts, when they have met, there has been some awkwardness.

Mr. Bush told a friend during the 2008 Democratic primary race that he thought Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York was “more experienced and more ready to be president.” But the same friend, speaking anonymously to disclose his private conversation with the president, called Mr. Bush “a realist” who was ready to move on in the nation’s interest; Mr. Bush’s postelection comments have so far been gracious and have emphasized a cooperative approach.

For his part, Mr. Obama and his aides have missed no opportunity to remind Americans that they have only one president at a time.

Even so, Mr. Obama and his team are moving expeditiously to plan the transition and a post-Inauguration agenda that aides said would probably include the quick reversal of some Bush policies, such as his restrictions on stem-cell research and on oil and gas drilling.

One thing is certain: The body language between the Obamas and the Bushes will be widely scrutinized and assessed, to see whether they appear to be comfortable working together or, as was the case with some past transition meetings, are straining just to appear polite.

Mr. Obama flew to Washington Monday morning from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago aboard a chartered American Airlines Boeing Super-80 jetliner. A spokeswoman for Ms. Obama said she flew to Washington separately.

Having had a chance to size up their new accommodations, and those who have occupied them for eight years, the Obamas are scheduled to return immediately afterward to Chicago, where the work of transition will continue.

A spokeswoman for the transition team, Stephanie Cutter, told Reuters today in Chicago that Mr. Obama would announce no Cabinet nominees this week.

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WASHINGTON — President-elect Obama’s advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.

During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a “sad chapter in American history” and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.

In this June 4, 2008 file photo, the sun sets over Camp Justice and its adjacent tent city, the legal complex of the U.S. Military Commissions, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, in Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

In this June 4, 2008 file photo, the sun sets over Camp Justice and its adjacent tent city, the legal complex of the U.S. Military Commissions, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, in Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Under plans being put together in Obama’s camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.

A third group of detainees _ the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information _ might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren’t final.

The move would be a sharp deviation from the Bush administration, which established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at the Navy base in Cuba and strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States. Obama’s Republican challenger, John McCain, had also pledged to close Guantanamo. But McCain opposed criminal trials, saying the Bush administration’s tribunals should continue on U.S. soil.

The plan being developed by Obama’s team has been championed by legal scholars from both political parties. But it is almost certain to face opposition from Republicans who oppose bringing terrorism suspects to the U.S. and from Democrats who oppose creating a new court system with fewer rights for detainees.

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, said discussions about plans for Guantanamo had been “theoretical” before the election but would quickly become very focused because closing the prison is a top priority. Bringing the detainees to the United States will be controversial, he said, but could be accomplished.

“I think the answer is going to be, they can be as securely guarded on U.S. soil as anywhere else,” Tribe said. “We can’t put people in a dungeon forever without processing whether they deserve to be there.”

The tougher challenge will be allaying fears by Democrats who believe the Bush administration’s military commissions were a farce and dislike the idea of giving detainees anything less than the full constitutional rights normally enjoyed by everyone on U.S. soil.

“There would be concern about establishing a completely new system,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and former federal prosecutor who is aware of the discussions in the Obama camp. “And in the sense that establishing a regimen of detention that includes American citizens and foreign nationals that takes place on U.S. soil and departs from the criminal justice system _ trying to establish that would be very difficult.”

Obama has said the civilian and military court-martial systems provide “a framework for dealing with the terrorists,” and Tribe said the administration would look to those venues before creating a new legal system. But discussions of what a new system would look like have already started.

“It would have to be some sort of hybrid that involves military commissions that actually administer justice rather than just serve as kangaroo courts,” Tribe said. “It will have to both be and appear to be fundamentally fair in light of the circumstances. I think people are going to give an Obama administration the benefit of the doubt in that regard.”

Though a hybrid court may be unpopular, other advisers and Democrats involved in the Guantanamo Bay discussions say Obama has few other options.

Prosecuting all detainees in federal courts raises a host of problems. Evidence gathered through military interrogation or from intelligence sources might be thrown out. Defendants would have the right to confront witnesses, meaning undercover CIA officers or terrorist turncoats might have to take the stand, jeopardizing their cover and revealing classified intelligence tactics.

In theory, Obama could try to transplant the Bush administration’s military commission system from Guantanamo Bay to a U.S. prison. But Tribe said, and other advisers agreed, that was “a nonstarter.” With lax evidence rules and intense secrecy, the military commissions have been criticized by human rights groups, defense attorneys and even some military prosecutors who quit the process in protest.

“I don’t think we need to completely reinvent the wheel, but we need a better tribunal process that is more transparent,” Schiff said.

That means something different would need to be done if detainees couldn’t be released or prosecuted in traditional courts. Exactly what that something would look like remains unclear.

According to three advisers participating in the process, Obama is expected to propose a new court system, appointing a committee to decide how such a court would operate. Some detainees likely would be returned to the countries where they were first captured for further detention or rehabilitation. The rest could probably be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts, one adviser said. All spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing talks, which have been private.

Whatever form it takes, Tribe said he expects Obama to move quickly.

“In reality and symbolically, the idea that we have people in legal black holes is an extremely serious black mark,” Tribe said. “It has to be dealt with.”

Source: HP

11-10-2008-2-06-05-pm

Barack and Michelle Obama had their first dinner out since the election. The pool report:

    Barack and Michelle Obama left dinner at Spiaggia at 11pm Saturday night after a roughly three hour dinner.
    Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, Obama waved to an ecstatic crowd gathered across the street as he and Michelle rushed through the cold wind.
    Michelle, wearing an elegant black knee-length jacket and tall black boots, held her coat closed as she walked to the waiting SUV.
    The crowd continued to rejoice, hugging one another and cheering as the motorcade pulled off.
    It was the couple’s first dinner out together since his election victory, and they selected the same restaurant where they spent their anniversary and Michelle’s birthday this year.
    Spiaggia is located at 980 N. Michigan Ave.
    The motorcade headed through light traffic on Lakeshore Drive to the Obama’s home, where it arrived at 11:18pm.

Source: HP

11-8-2008-9-53-59-pm

That whole anti-American, friend-to-the-terrorists thing about President-elect Barack Obama? Never mind.

Just a few weeks ago, at the height of the campaign, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told Chris Matthews of MSNBC that, when it came to Mr. Obama, “I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views.”

But there she was on Wednesday, after narrowly escaping defeat because of those comments, saying she was “extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year.” Ms. Bachmann, a Republican, called Mr. Obama’s victory, which included her state, “a tremendous signal we sent.”

And it was not too long ago that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, accused Mr. Obama of “palling around with terrorists.”

But she took an entirely different tone on Thursday, when she chastised reporters for asking her questions about her war with some staff members in the McCain campaign at such a heady time. “Barack Obama has been elected president,” Ms. Palin said. “Let us, let us — let him — be able to kind of savor this moment, one, and not let the pettiness of maybe internal workings of the campaign erode any of the recognition of this historic moment that we’re in. And God bless Barack Obama and his beautiful family.”

There is a great tradition of paint-peeling political hyperbole during presidential campaign years. And there is an equally great tradition of backing off from it all afterward, though with varying degrees of deftness.

But given the intensity of some of the charges that have been made in the past few months, and the historic nature of Mr. Obama’s election, the exercise this year has been particularly whiplash-inducing, with its extreme before-and-after contrasts.

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The shift in tone follows the magnanimous concession speech from Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who referred to Mr. Obama’s victory Tuesday night as “a historic election” and hailed the “special pride” it held for African-Americans. That led the vice president-elect, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., to get into the act. During the campaign, Mr. Biden said he no longer recognized Mr. McCain, an old friend. Now, he says, “We’re still friends.” President Bush, in turn, also hailed Mr. Obama’s victory, saying his arrival at the White House would be “a stirring sight.”

Whether it all heralds a new era of cooperation in Washington remains to be seen, and it may be downright doubtful. But for now, at least, it would seem to be part of an apparent rush to join what has emerged as a real moment in American history.

The presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said she was hard-pressed to find a similar moment when the tone had changed so drastically, and so quickly, among so many people of such prominence.

“I don’t think that’s happened very often,” Ms. Goodwin said. “The best answer I can give you is they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, and they recognize how the country saw this election, and how people feel that they’re living in a time of great historic moment.”

Others in the professional political class were not so sure. Some wondered whether simple pragmatism was the explanation.

“My experience is, it’s less an epiphany and more a political reality,” said Chris Lehane, a former Democratic strategist who worked on the presidential campaign of Al Gore. “I’m thinking they will continue in this direction so long as the polls indicate it’s a smart place to be.”

There are notable exceptions: Rush Limbaugh has given no quarter. And while his fellow conservative radio hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have noted the significance of his victory — on Wednesday, Ms. Ingraham said “Obama did make history” and “It’s not the time to vilify him” — they seem to be in line with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. Relishing his new role in the opposition camp, Mr. O’Reilly said, “The guy is still a mystery, so our oversight will be intense.”

Some lawmakers also do not appear inclined to give up the fight. Representative John A. Boehner, the House minority leader, has already criticized Mr. Obama’s choice of Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, as his chief of staff.

But other people who opposed Mr. Obama, like Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, have good reason to try to make up with the winning ticket. As an ardent backer of Mr. McCain, Mr. Lieberman angered the Democrats, who in 2000 nominated him as their vice-presidential candidate. After losing a Democratic primary challenge in 2006 and then winning as an independent, he still continued to caucus with the Democrats.

Attending an event with Mr. McCain in York, Pa., in August, Mr. Lieberman said the race was “between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not.”

As a speaker at the Republican National Convention, Mr. Lieberman went further than Democrats expected by criticizing Mr. Obama for “voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground.” (Mr. Obama voted for bills that included plans for withdrawal from Iraq and against others that did not.)

This week Mr. Lieberman, who has been asked by the Democratic Senate leadership to consider giving up his position as the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, released a statement congratulating Mr. Obama for “his historic and impressive victory.” It continued, “The American people are a people of extraordinary fairness.”

Marshall Wittmann, a spokesman for Mr. Lieberman, said that as far as the senator was concerned, “It’s over, and it’s genuinely time to find unity and move forward behind the new president.”

And what about that whole bit about Mr. Obama not always putting his country first? “He believes that President-elect Obama — and, then, Senator Obama — is a genuine patriot and loves his country,” Mr. Wittmann said. “The only point he was making in his campaign was about partisanship.”

Mr. Obama is apparently ready to bury the hatchet with his new fans. “President-elect Obama has made it clear that he wants to put partisanship behind and work together to solve the many challenges confronting the country,” said Stephanie Cutter, a spokeswoman for the Obama transition team. “We’re pleased that others do as well.”

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, who will help decide Mr. Lieberman’s committee assignment, sounded less ready to forgive, at least when it came Mr. Lieberman’s support for Mr. McCain. “Joe Lieberman has done something that I think was improper, wrong, and I’d like — if we weren’t on television, I’d use a stronger word of describing what he did,” he said on CNN Friday.

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WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s big victory could provide Democrats with a road map for an even bigger electoral majority in the future _ something that seemed implausible just four years ago.

Obama won in the suburbs of key states, expanded Democratic majorities in big cities and made inroads into rural areas that had been off-limits to Democrats in recent presidential elections. He also proved that a black presidential candidate could make Democratic gains in some of the whitest counties in the nation _ even though in much of the Deep South, his race still appeared to turn voters away.

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Nationwide, Republican John McCain won a majority of the white vote in Tuesday’s election. But Obama, who will become the nation’s first black president, actually fared better than Democratic nominee John Kerry did among white voters in 2004 _ and he did it in some unlikely places, according to an Associated Press analysis of election results.

“Every president wants to build or maintain a coalition for success, to establish a permanent imprint politically,” said David Rohde, a political scientist at Duke University. “If the Democrats can avoid screwing up, this can be a politically transformative event.”

As expected, Obama did well among low-income voters. But he also won over the wealthiest Americans, despite promising a tax increase for those making more than $250,000 a year. Obama won 52 percent of the vote among those with family incomes of more than $200,000 a year, according to exit polls. That’s a 17-point improvement over fellow Democrat Kerry.

Obama also won a majority of the Catholic vote, something Kerry didn’t do, even though Kerry would have become just the second Catholic president.

And Obama rocked the youth vote, which has Democrats hoping they can hold onto the voters of the future. Obama won 66 percent of the vote from 18 to 29 year olds, a 12-point improvement over Kerry.

Four years ago, the Democrats were looking at a shrinking electoral map as they suffered through hard-fought losses in Ohio and Florida. Suburban soccer moms seemed to be trending Republican, while much of rural America was solidly red.

It turns out those suburbanites weren’t so wedded to the Republicans, after all.

Obama did well in key suburban counties in Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Indiana, winning all four states carried by President Bush in 2004. He also made inroads in heavily Republican rural counties, even if he didn’t win a majority of the vote in those areas.

In Florida, Obama made significant gains among voters living along the Interstate 4 corridor, a swing area from Orlando to Tampa. He won Osceola County, home to Kissimmee, and Orange County, home to Orlando. Up the Atlantic Coast, Obama also improved on Kerry’s numbers in Duval County, home to Jacksonville.

In Ohio, Obama won Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, a county that Kerry lost in 2004. He also made significant gains in suburban counties in northwestern Ohio as well as those near Columbus in the center of the state.

In Indiana, Obama won a larger percentage of the vote than Kerry in every county, helping him to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1964.

Virginia exemplified Obama’s Southern strategy. Obama built a lead in the fast-growing suburbs of Northern Virginia, territory that is more friendly toward Democrats, while limiting his losses in the southern part of the state, which is more Republican.

Much was made of Obama’s lack of support among white working class voters in his epic Democratic primary battle with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. And in the general election, Obama did lose among whites without college degrees.

But in many of the nation’s most rural, white counties outside the Deep South, Obama did surprisingly well. He didn’t always win a majority in those areas, but more often than not, he did better than Kerry did four years ago.

About 1,360 U.S. counties have populations that are more than 90 percent white. Obama won only 249 of those counties, but he received more of the vote than Kerry in nearly eight out of 10 of them, according to the AP analysis.

Obama won in overwhelmingly white counties throughout New England and in parts of the Midwest. He won some of the whitest counties in Iowa, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin and his home state of Illinois. He didn’t win many of the whitest counties in Kansas or Idaho, but he fared better than Kerry in most of them.

The South and Appalachia were the exceptions.

In Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, Obama fared worse than Kerry in all 49 counties where whites make up 90 percent or more of the population.

There were similar, but less severe, patterns in the Appalachian states of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Obama did much better in faster-growing Southern states along the East Coast, such as North Carolina _ where he bested Kerry in two-thirds of the predominantly white counties, and in Virginia, where he out polled Kerry in 22 of the state’s 31 predominantly white counties.

Democrats hope the high-growth areas in the South will help them increase their toehold in a region that has largely been shut off to Democrats in the past two presidential elections.

“The people who have moved there are better educated and they make more money. It’s just a different demographic mix,” said Don Fowler, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee from South Carolina. “That’s the South of 2008.”

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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-opoll-large

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

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Madelyn Dunham, who watched from afar as her only grandson rapidly ascended the ranks of American politics to the brink of the presidency, did not live to see whether he was elected.

Mrs. Dunham, 86, Senator Barack Obama’s grandmother, died late Sunday in Hawaii after battling cancer, which Mr. Obama announced upon arriving here on Monday for a campaign stop on the eve of Election Day.

“She has gone home,” said Mr. Obama, his voice tinged with emotion as he briefly spoke of her death at a campaign rally here. “She died peacefully in her sleep with my sister at her side, so there’s great joy instead of tears.”

Mr. Obama learned of his grandmother’s death at 8 a.m. on Monday, aides said, but appeared at a morning rally in Florida without making an announcement. A written statement was issued around 4:30 p.m., in the name of Mr. Obama and his sister, before he spoke at an evening rally in Charlotte. The delay was intended to allow his sister, who was six hours behind in Hawaii, time to take care of a few details before the death became public.

Mrs. Dunham was the final remaining immediate family member who helped raise Mr. Obama during his teenage years in Hawaii. He called her Toot, his shorthand for “tutu,” a Hawaiian term for grandparent.

Mr. Obama left the campaign trail late last month to travel to Honolulu to bid his grandmother farewell. He spent part of two days with her, as she lay gravely ill in the small apartment where he lived from age 10 to 18.

While Mrs. Dunham was too sick to travel to see her grandson on the campaign trail, Mr. Obama and other family members said that she closely followed his bid for the presidency through cable television. Yet she became a figure in his campaign, seen through images in television commercials intended to give him a biographical anchor.

Mrs. Dunham, who grew up near Augusta, Kan., moved with her husband, Stanley Dunham, to Hawaii.

11-4-2008-11-58-21-am

In the early stages of his candidacy, Mr. Obama spoke wistfully about his grandparents, whose all-American biography was suddenly critical to establishing his own American story. He spoke of how his grandmother worked on B-29s at a Boeing plant in Wichita.

For Mr. Obama, the loss came on the final full day of his presidential campaign against Senator John McCain. Campaigning in New Mexico, Mr. McCain offered his condolences and said: “He is in our thoughts and prayers. We mourn his loss, and we are with him and his family today.”

The illness of Mr. Obama’s grandmother had been weighing on him in recent weeks, friends said, which is why he insisted on interrupting his schedule to visit her late last month. While she was gravely ill, aides said, he carried on a limited conversation with her. He kept the visit to one day, advisers said, partly out of her own insistence that people not create a fuss.

“She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard.

“They aren’t seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing. In this crowd there are a lot of quiet heroes like that.”

Source: NYT, HP

obama-wins-dixville-notch-1
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

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

A statement from Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng on their grandmother’s death:

    “It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.
    “Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.”

Source: HP

Mark Halperin
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 349 McCain 189
Senate Seats: 58 Democrats 40 Republicans
House Seats: 261 Democrats 174 Republicans

Matthew Dowd
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 338 McCain 200
Senate Seats: 57 Democrats 41 Republicans
House Seats: 250 Democrats 185 Republicans

George Will
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 378 McCain 160
Senate Seats: 57 Democrats 41 Republicans
House Seats: 254 Democrats 181 Republicans

Donna Brazile
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 343
Senate Seats: 59 Democrats 39 Republicans
House Seats: 262 Democrats 173 Republicans

George Stephanopoulos
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 353 McCain 185
Senate Seats: 58 Democrats (59 if there’s a run-off in Georgia) Republicans 40
House Seats: Democrats 264 Republicans 171

Chris Matthews
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 338 McCain 200
Senate Seats: 56 Democrats 42 Republicans
House Seats: 264 Democrats 171 Republicans

Nate Silver
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 347 McCain 191
Senate Seats: 57 Democrats 41 Republicans
House Seats: 258 Democrats 177 Republicans

Chris Cillizza
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: 312 McCain 226
Senate Seats: 57 Democrats 41 Republicans
House Seats: 266 Democrats 169 Republicans

Arianna Huffington
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 318 McCain 220
Senate Seats: 58 Democrats 40 Republicans
House Seats: 254 Democrats 181 Republicans

Fred Barnes
Winner: McCain
Electoral College: Obama 252 McCain 286
Senate Seats: 55 Democrats 43 Republicans
House Seats: 255 Democrats 180 Republicans

Eleanor Clift
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 349 McCain 189
Senate Seats: 58 Democrats 40 Republicans
House Seats: 265 Democrats 170 Republicans

Markos Moulitas
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 390 McCain 148
Senate Seats: 58 Democrats 40 Republicans
House Seats: 268 Democrats 167 Republicans

Ed Rollins
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 353 McCain 185
Senate Seats: 57 Democrats 41 Republicans
House Seats: 249 Democrats 186 Republicans

Paul Begala
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 325 McCain 213
Senate Seats: 58 Democrats 40 Republicans

James Carville
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 330 McCain 208
Senate Seats: 60 Democrats 38 Republicans

Readers of CQ Politics’ Trail Mix
Winner: Obama
Electoral College: Obama 345 McCain 193

Source: HP

 

No, this is not some Halloween stunt. That guy you see over there being held accountable is actually the vice president of the United States.

The U.S. District Court in D.C. ruled today that Vice President Dick Cheney will have to let his deputy chief of staff, Claire O’Donnell, give testimony in a lawsuit over his records.

Cheney, with his well-known passion for secrecy, had argued that a vice president need only preserve records central to his job as the official who presides over the U.S. Senate or records relating to specific tasks assigned by the president. That would narrow the pile considerably.

A group of historians and others at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have filed a lawsuit, concerned about their eventual access to the vice president’s records. In a second round victory, the court today denied Cheney’s move to block discovery in the case.

Anne Weismann, CREW’s chief counsel, hailed the decision.

    Today’s decision, allowing CREW discovery in our case against the office of the vice president, moves us one step closer to ensuring that important historical documents will not be lost to future generations. CREW looks forward to deposing Cheney’s Deputy Chief of Staff Claire O’Donnell to get to the bottom of what exactly the administration has been doing with documents that belong not to the vice president, but to the American people.

The vice president’s office declined to comment, noting that the case was still in court. Where Cheney may well file an appeal

Source: LATimes, HP

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

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/28-30. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)

McCain (R) 48
Obama (D) 47

Early voters (17 percent of sample)

McCain (R) 42
Obama (D) 54

I can’t believe we may actually win Arizona. And I have a bonus treat for you guys:

If the 2010 election for U.S. Senate were held today for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Janet Napolitano the Democrat and John McCain the Republican?

McCain (R) 45
Napolitano (D) 53

Source: HP

Obama Going Up On The Air In Georgia, North Dakota, And … Arizona!

On a conference call with reporters just now, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said that the campaign is going up on the air in the final stretch in three states: Georgia, North Dakota, and … McCain’s home state of Arizona.

Plouffe said that yesterday’s “rear view mirror” ad attacking McSame would go up in Georgia and North Dakota, and the positive closing spot, which features the endorsements of Warren Buffett and Colin Powell, would go up in Arizona.

The campaign had previously run ads in Georgia and North Dakota but had gone dark after McCain seemed to be holding on in those states.

The Arizona gambit, obviously, is an entirely new move.

View both ads here.

Something

“Rearview Mirror” Ad

Late Update: Plouffe adds that one reason for entering Arizona is that the Obama camp thinks they’re doing very well with the state’s hispanic and suburban voters.

Late Late Update: Two other interesting points from Plouffe. First, he said that the campaign is very pleased with where they stand with independent voters in the West, predicting that they are key to the campaign’s chances in Colorado and could conceivably help tip Arizona Obama’s way.

Also, Plouffe pushed back hard on the notion — heavily promoted of late by the McCain team — that undecideds will break heavily to McCain. He said internal data belies this and has left the campaign happy with the way Obama is perceived by undecideds both personally and on the issues. He added that get out the vote efforts would make Obama very competitive with the last-minute deciders.

Source: Politico

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The CEO of a major marine technology company is alleging that he was pressured by a friend and associate of Norm Coleman to secretly funnel tens of thousands of dollars to the Senator’s family.

Paul McKim, the founder and CEO of Deep Marine Technology, alleges in a civil suit that Nasser Kazeminy — a longtime Republican donor, friend of Coleman, and DMT shareholder — directed the company to send $75,000 to the Senator and his wife.

The transaction, which occurred in 2007, allegedly went as follows: DMT would make payments for services to Hays Company, even though no services would be rendered. Since Norm Coleman’s wife Laurie worked at Hays, that money would be given to her in the form of ‘salary.’

According to the suit filed against Kazeminy and several other defendants:

    In March 2007, Kazeminy began ordering the payments of corporate funds to companies and individuals who tendered no goods or services to DMT for the stated purpose of trying to financially assist United States Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. In March 2007, Kazeminy telephoned B.J. Thomas, then DMT’s Chief Financial Officer. In that conversation, Kazeminy told Mr. Thomas that “U.S. Senators don’t make [expletive deleted]” and that he was going to find a way to get money to United States Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota and wanted to utilize DMT in the process. Mr. Thomas later approached Mr. McKim, asking him whether this was appropriate and whether they should follow Kazeminy’s orders. Mr McKim told him that it was not appropriate and shortly thereafter he also spoke with Kazeminy.”
    In this same conversation, Kazeminy told Mr. McKim that he [Kazeminy] would make sure there was paperwork to make it appear as though the payments were made in connection with legitimate transactions, explaining further that Senator Coleman’s wife, Laurie, worked for the Hays Companies, an insurance broker in Minneapolis, and that the payments could be made to Hays for insurance. When Mr. McKin made further objections, Kazeminy repeatedly threatened to fire Mr. McKim, telling him “this is my company” and that he and Mr. Thomas had better follow his orders in paying Hays.

All told, the court documents, which were filed on Monday in a Texas district court, allege that three payments of $25,000 were sent through Hays Company to the Colemans from May 2007 through September 2007. Two of those came without McKim’s approval because Kazeminy went around him. A fourth payment was “in the process of being made” before being stopped by McKim, the suit alleges.

Sen. Coleman was initially asked about these findings on Wednesday, when two investigative reporters from the Minneapolis Star Tribune cornered him at a campaign rally. He ducked their questions.

On Thursday, Coleman’s campaign manager Cullen Sheehan was asked about the issue during a press conference, He claimed that “the lawsuit was withdrawn,” and said he had no further details to offer. “I just know there was a lawsuit filed and it was withdrawn.”

Casey T. Wallace, the attorney representing McKim, confirmed the withdrawal and said he would have more comment later in the day. A person familiar with the case, however, emphasized that while the complaint may have been withdrawn, the charges contained within it were still valid.

“It doesn’t affect that,” said the official. “By withdrawing the complaint and withdrawing the petition, we are not saying now that our allegations are false.”

Requests for comment from McKim and the Coleman campaign went un-returned. But lawyers familiar with Senate ethics law say that if the complaint turns out to be true, Coleman could be in hot water, possibly facing a trial and potentially jail time.

“This is why [Sen]. Ted Stevens just got convicted,” said Brett Kappel of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. “If this is true and Kazeminy gave a gift — which includes money to a candidate’s family member — it doesn’t mean that you can’t take it, but you would have to report it on [your financial disclosure form]… If he knew about it, and of course, all of this has to be proven to be true, then yeah,” he could go to jail.

Kappel additionally noted that the firm representing McKim in this suit is Haynes and Boone, “a pretty serious law firm that is a major player in Houston. I can’t believe they would have agreed to file this if they didn’t have documentation to support this.”

Kazeminy, a reclusive businessman who serves as chairman of Minnesota-based NJK Holding Corporation, has significant ties to Coleman. The Kazeminy family has contributed more than $75,000 to the Senator directly and has paid for flights for him and (occasionally) his wife to the Bahamas, Paris and Jordan, often described as fact finding missions. Kazeminy is even alleged to have paid for Coleman’s suits, a charge that the Coleman campaign has never denied.

Source: HP

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

It’s always nice to see Michelle Obama.

One of John McCain’s advisers recently called his running mate Sarah Palin a “diva” after she went off-script at a rally, and suggested she was looking after her own political future over the current campaign. Now another adviser ups the ante in a conversation with the Politico’s Playbook, labeling Palin a “whack job.”

Meanwhile, Dana Milbank reports on more signs of division between McCain and his running mate on the stump:

    “Sarah Oh-Twelve!” bellowed a man in field coat and jeans, one of several thousand at the Leesburg rally, when Palin spoke about her tax policies yesterday.

    The oh-twelve message, if mathematically flawed, seemed to capture the crowd’s sentiment. There were “I [Heart] Palin” bumper stickers on cars, “Team Sarah” T-shirts in pink, “Sarah!” pins and countless signs: “You Go Girl.” “You’re in Palin Country.” “Maverick Barracuda.” One of the souvenir vendors said his most popular offering was a pin showing Palin next to a pit bull and the usual “McCain-Palin” logo reversed, with her name first and in larger letters.

    The diva made sure to spend some time on her “own track record” in Alaska, particularly all the taxes she cut. “Sarah! Sarah!” the crowd chanted.

    “So, Virginia, will you hire us?” she asked. “Will you send us to Washington?”

    “Yes, we will! Yes, we will!”

    In 2012, that is.

“Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.” CNN

Source: HP

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

German Nuclear Reactor Taken Offline After Internal Leak

Concern over French nuclear leaks

French Authorities had to issue a ban on fishing and water sports

Safety Problem at Nuclear Plants Is Cited

Scientists discuss article here

During a rally in Northern Iowa University this morning, John McCain made a strange remark that only serves to cement the notion that he does not respect Barack Obama:

    When I’m elected president We’re going to stop spending $700 billion to buy oil from countries that don’t like us very much,” John McCain said at Northern Iowa University this morning.“You know, the other night in the debate with Senator Obama, I said his eloquence is admirable, but pay attention to his words.

    We talk about offshore drilling and he said he would quote, consider, offshore drilling.

    We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah.”

While McCain is targeting Obama’s eloquence as empty words with his “blah, blah, blah” comment, it’s curious why he would use safeguards for nuclear power as the vehicle for this attack. The line makes McCain seem not only callous but also dismissive of a very real concern regarding nuclear power.

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

FOX Spreads The ‘B’ Mutilation Hoax
JedReport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[.......]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: AP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s how he plans to ‘work for you!’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

Source: TPM

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

MCCAIN IF YOU CARE STOP THE ROBO HATE CALLS NOW!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP


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

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

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

They also blamed voters for not being more careful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homer Simpson goes to vote for Obama

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

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

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

Read more…

GOP Congressman Jokes About Pro-Obama Vote Suppression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

Maybe he was born in a manger!

Maybe he was born in a manger!

Enlarge+

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

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

More from the AP:

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

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

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

Source: HP


Voters in at least 10 swing states are receiving hundreds of thousands of automated telephone calls — uniformly negative and sometimes misleading — that the Republican Party and the McCain campaign are financing this week as they struggle to keep more states from drifting into the Democratic column.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, has denounced such phone calls in the past: In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in part for his loss to George W. Bush. This January, too, in South Carolina, Mr. McCain described the calls against him as “scurrilous stuff,” and his campaign set up a “truth squad” to debunk them.

On Friday, a Democratic official in Minnesota said he had received one of these so-called robocalls and had tracked it to a company owned by a prominent Republican consultant, Jeff Larson. According to published news reports, Mr. Larson and his previous firm helped develop the phone calls in 2000 that took aim at Mr. McCain.

In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in part for his loss to George W. Bush.

A spokesman for the McCain campaign could not say Friday night whether it had contracted with Mr. Larson’s current company, FLS Connect. Phone messages left for Mr. Larson were not answered Friday, nor were messages left at a subcontractor, King TeleServices, which is making the actual calls to voters in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Democrat, Christopher Shoff, a commissioner in Freeborn County, said the automated call described Mr. Obama as putting “Hollywood above America” because he attended a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills hours after the federal government seized control of the insurance giant American International Group. The call was first reported by The Huffington Post.

“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time, and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans should be talking about serious issues.”

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the “Hollywood” robocall was based in fact. “I would argue that much of these calls are based on hardened facts that American voters should consider,” Mr. Bounds said.

Another McCain spokesman, Brian Rogers, said the automated calls placed this year were different from those used against Mr. McCain in 2000 because they were “100 percent true.” Mr. Rogers added that it was “crazy” to compare these calls to the calls in 2000, which sought to hurt Mr. McCain by describing his “interracial child” — a reference to the McCains’ adopted daughter from Bangladesh.

On Friday, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, urged Mr. McCain to stop placing automated calls in her state, The Associated Press reported.

“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time, and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans should be talking about serious issues.”

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said Mr. McCain’s use of automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his tactics.” In response to the calls, the Obama campaign on Friday added a link on its Web site to FightTheSmears.com, asking supporters to report robocalls.

Mr. LaBolt said the Obama campaign was currently making robocalls, but he added: “The focus of all of our communications is on the direction Senator Obama will take the country and on policy differences between the candidates on issues like health care.” Republican National Committee officials said they were not aware of any Obama robocalls.

Such calls are a relatively cheap way to reach large numbers of voters in a short time. A review shows that the current calls on Mr. McCain’s behalf are uniformly negative and at times misleading.

The phone campaign hammers familiar themes that have been playing out for months in the campaign, focusing on Mr. Obama’s past associations and trying to portray him as a friend of radicals and liberal Hollywood celebrities.

Mr. McCain’s use of automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his tactics.”

In one widely reported call, Mr. McCain raises Mr. Obama’s links to William Ayers, a founder of the 1960s-era radical Weather Underground. “You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers,” a recorded voice says.

Mr. Obama, 47, and Mr. Ayers, now a 63-year-old education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, served together on two of that city’s philanthropic boards as well as on the board of an education project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The two men have been described as friendly, but are not known to be close.

In an Oct. 10 letter to The New York Times, William C. Ibershof, the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s, expressed outrage that Mr. Obama was being tarred with the association, adding that he was pleased to learn that Mr. Ayers had “become a responsible citizen.”

The “Hollywood” robocall, meanwhile, asserts that “on the very day our elected leaders gathered in Washington to deal with the financial crisis, Barack Obama spent just 20 minutes with economic advisers, but hours at a celebrity Hollywood fund-raiser.”

The information is based on a newspaper report from Sept. 16, when the government took control of the American International Group in an $85 billion bailout. Mr. Obama attended a cocktail reception that night in Beverly Hills that featured celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Leonardo DiCaprio, after a 20-minute briefing by economic advisers.

But Mr. LaBolt said Mr. Obama’s schedule that day also showed that he was briefed by staff members twice more and spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

Mr. McCain was not in Washington, either, on the day Mr. Obama was in Beverly Hills; he was campaigning in Ohio. The Obama campaign noted that Mr. McCain had also raised money from Hollywood.

Voters in North Carolina have received calls accusing Mr. Obama of opposing legislation aimed at protecting aborted fetuses that show signs of life, a position the call states is “at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.”

“Please vote,” the call continues, “vote for candidates that share our values.”

The 2003 measure in Illinois that Mr. Obama opposed was virtually identical to federal legislation that Mr. Bush signed into law in 2002 after it was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. But Mr. Obama and other opponents of the Illinois bill have said that the state already had a law protecting aborted fetuses born alive. The Illinois State Medical Society, which also opposed the legislation, said the bill would increase civil liability for doctors and interfere with their patient relationships.

Source: NYT

He is the competent, confident leader who represents the aspirations of the United States.

It is inherent in the American character to aspire to greatness, so it can be disorienting when the nation stumbles or loses confidence in bedrock principles or institutions. That’s where the United States is as it prepares to select a new president: We have seen the government take a stake in venerable private financial houses; we have witnessed eight years of executive branch power grabs and erosion of civil liberties; we are still recovering from a murderous attack by terrorists on our own soil and still struggling with how best to prevent a recurrence.

We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.

Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama’s early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama’s character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.

These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade. The U.S. Constitution, more than two centuries old, now offers the world one of its more mature and certainly most stable governments, but our political culture is still struggling to shake off a brash and unseemly adolescence. In George W. Bush, the executive branch turned its back on an adult role in the nation and the world and retreated into self-absorbed unilateralism.

John McCain distinguished himself through much of the Bush presidency by speaking out against reckless and self-defeating policies. He earned The Times’ respect, and our endorsement in the California Republican primary, for his denunciation of torture, his readiness to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and his willingness to buck his party on issues such as immigration reform. But the man known for his sense of honor and consistency has since announced that he wouldn’t vote for his own immigration bill, and he redefined “torture” in such a disingenuous way as to nearly embrace what he once abhorred.

Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking — if that’s the appropriate word — would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain’s judgment.

Obama’s selection also was telling. He might have scored a steeper bump in the polls by making a more dramatic choice than the capable and experienced Joe Biden. But for all the excitement of his own candidacy, Obama has offered more competence than drama.

He is no lone rider. He is a consensus builder, a leader. As a constitutional scholar, he has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive that make him the best hope of restoring balance and process to the Justice Department. He is a Democrat, leaning further left than right, and that should be reflected in his nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a good thing; the court operates best when it is ideologically balanced. With its present alignment at seven justices named by Republicans and two by Democrats, it is due for a tug from the left.

We are not sanguine about Obama’s economic policies. He speaks with populist sweep about taxing oil companies to give middle-class families rebates that of course they would welcome, but would be far too small to stimulate the economy. His ideas on taxation do not stray far from those put forward by Democrats over the last several decades. His response to the most recent, and drastic, fallout of the sub- prime mortgage meltdown has been appropriately cautious; this is uncharted territory, and Obama is not a master of economic theory or practice.

And that’s fine. Obama inspires confidence not so much in his grasp of Wall Street finance, but in his acknowledgment of and comfort with his lack of expertise. He will not be one to forge far-reaching economic policy without sounding out the best thinkers and practitioners, and he has many at his disposal. He has won the backing of some on Wall Street not because he’s one of them, but because they recognize his talent for extracting from a broad range of proposals a coherent and workable program.

On paper, McCain presents the type of economic program The Times has repeatedly backed: One that would ease the tax burden on business and other high earners most likely to invest in the economy and hire new workers. But he has been disturbingly unfocused in his response to the current financial situation, rushing to “suspend” his campaign and take action (although just what action never became clear). Having little to contribute, he instead chose to exploit the crisis.

We may one day look back on this presidential campaign in wonder. We may marvel that Obama’s critics called him an elitist, as if an Ivy League education were a source of embarrassment, and belittled his eloquence, as if a gift with words were suddenly a defect. In fact, Obama is educated and eloquent, sober and exciting, steady and mature. He represents the nation as it is, and as it aspires to be.

Source: LATimes

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