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The Republican National Committee has taken out a $5 million line of credit to help fund last minute efforts to keep Senate Democrats from winning a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority, according to an official with the committee.
Of the $5 million, $2 million is being directly transferred to the National Republican Senatorial Committee while $3 million is being devoted to coordinated expenditures that began over the last week.
“This effort not only helps fortify senators but it’s good for the whole Republican ticket,” said the RNC official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “This is an investment in the entire ticket in addition to an unprecedented get out the vote effort.”
With the White House apparently slipping away and House Republicans looking at losses of 20 or more seats, the Senate is being painted as the last, best chance for Republicans to hold some semblance of power within Congress.
Right now, three states are largely seen as near-certain Democratic pickups: Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado.
The RNC line of credit is almost certain to be spent on a handful of vulnerable Republican incumbents who face varying levels of peril. That list includes North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens among others.
The decision by the RNC to help fund a series of Senate contest shows that national GOP strategists see the Senate as their firewall in next week’s election.
Will it change things? It’s very hard to know with so much volatility in the environment. But, it does show the RNC is willing to do everything it can to hold strong against the onrushing Democratic wave.
McCain’s on the phone !! Who wants to take the call? The man of honor has something disgraceful and disrespectful to say.
It doesn’t make sense feeling sorry for McCain – underdog or not – as he’s the fighter who punches below the belt.
Laura Meckler reports from New York City on the presidential race:
John McCain’s presidential campaign is blanketing battleground states with automated phone calls that accuse Democrat Barack Obama of working closely with a domestic terrorist, of holding extreme views on abortion and of “putting Hollywood above America.”
Automated calls have been an under-the-radar communication tool in recent elections, as they are hard to track and cheap to make. Hundreds of thousands of calls can be delivered before the opposition or the media is aware of them.
But today, a barrage of McCain-funded calls came into the open. Democrats have tracked them in 10 competitive states: Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Maine, where Republicans hope to snag a single electoral vote given to the winner of the northern congressional district.
Obama spokesman, “John McCain’s campaign has admitted that the economy is a losing issue for them, so he’s chosen to launch dishonorable and dishonest attacks like this.”
The calls are tough on Obama. The one that has been tracked in the most places picks up on McCain’s message from the stump and in TV ads to tie him to William Ayers, a 1960s era radical who is now a college professor. He has a loose association with Obama: the two sat on a board together and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama years ago, but Obama has said the two are not close. The McCain campaign has said that the issue is not the relationship between the two but Obama’s candor about it. But the automated phone call raises the relationship itself:
“Hello. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home and killed Americans,” the recorded message said. “And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.”
The call ends with the legally required disclosure, informing the listener that the call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee. (Listen)
Asked about the calls, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said: “They are 100% factual, and the mission of this campaign is to ensure that voters are informed on Election Day and the presidential vetting process is complete.”
Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor responded, “John McCain’s campaign has admitted that the economy is a losing issue for them, so he’s chosen to launch dishonorable and dishonest attacks like this.”
A second script, picked up in Virginia and North Carolina, warns, “Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats aren’t who you think they are.” It goes on to say that Democrats do not understand the terrorist threat. (Listen)
Another recorded message, which Democrats say was made to North Carolina homes, talks about an anti-abortion measure that Obama opposed in the Illinios legislature. (Listen)
A fourth message accuses Obama of spending more time at a Hollywood fundraiser than working on the financial crisis. (Listen)