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The gun lobby has long intimidated politicians with its war chest and its trumpeted ability to deliver single-issue voters, especially in tight races. After this year’s election, those politicians should be far less afraid and far more willing to vote for sensible gun-control laws.

The National Rifle Association directed much money and bile against Barack Obama. In false, misleading and, fortunately, ineffective ads, fliers, mailers and Web postings, the group said that Mr. Obama posed a “clear and present danger” to Second Amendment rights and that his election would mean a gun ban.

Despite that harsh barrage, Mr. Obama won states with heavy gun ownership, including Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That success should send a signal to other politicians: consistency matters.

In fact, Mr. Obama has long been a supporter of the argument, disputed by this page, that the Second Amendment bestows an individual right to bear arms unrelated to raising a militia. But Mr. Obama did not abandon his support for reasonable gun-control laws. “Don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals,” he declared at the Democratic convention.

In Congressional races, the N.R.A. endorsed candidates in 20 of the 25 races where Democrats picked up seats from Republicans. We will not miss Florida’s Tom Feeney and Ric Keller, Idaho’s Bill Sali, Michigan’s Joe Knollenberg, Ohio’s Steve Chabot, Colorado’s Marilyn Musgrave and Pennsylvania’s Phil English — willing champions of an extreme agenda.

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On the Senate side, the N.R.A. spent considerable sums to help Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Bob Schaffer, the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado. Both were defeated.

And the N.R.A.’s poor showing was not just a single isolated event. A useful election analysis prepared by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence shows that its 2006 campaign effort also was a big flop.

We hope the trend continues. To fight crime and keep Americans safe, this country needs sound gun-control laws. To pass those laws as president, Mr. Obama will need strong Congressional support.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lines and other problems began well before Election Day.

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

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

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

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

thecaucus75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Washington Post

(CNN) – The Virginia State Board of Elections is putting the word out: November 4 is Election Day for everyone in the state, regardless of political party.

The state agency issued a “Rumor Buster” press release this week with the correct date for voting in next week’s election because a fake flyer has been circulating with false information.

The flier said incorrectly that Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters should vote November 4 and that Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents should vote November 5. The flyer claims that the separate dates for voting by party were enacted by the Virginia legislature to ease the strain on the polls during high turnout that is expected.

There is definitely a theme running through the McCain camp – here’s Pfotenhauer talking about “Real Virginia” – Palin the other day was talking about those parts of the country which are “pro-American” and on Hardball in a true and utter space cadet moment – Rep. Michelle Bachmann – was trying to convince host Chris Matthews that reporters need to go after and investigate ‘liberal’ ‘leftist’ Members of Congress as they are anti-American or have anti-American-leaning ~ can you hear the Twilight Zone theme song music playing in the background here……

A new Politico/Insider Advantage survey finds he leads in four key counties, an advantage that could determine the winner of four vital swing states.

A new Politico/Insider Advantage survey finds he leads in four key counties, an advantage that could determine the winner of four vital swing states.

Sen. Barack Obama holds leads in four key counties that will go a long way toward determining the eventual winner in four important swing states—Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—according to a new Politico/Insider Advantage survey.

Obama is poised to expand on recent Democratic gains in three populous suburban counties—Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, Missouri’s St. Louis County and Virginia’s Prince William County. In a fourth, Ohio’s Franklin County, home to Columbus and its suburbs, the Politico/Insider Advantage survey also found Obama with the lead.

Read more here

Source: Politico

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)

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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)

Source: WSJ

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — His backers feeling increasingly confident, Democrat Barack Obama made a slight nod to his Republican rival on Saturday and asked voters to have faith in him as the next president.

Even as he criticized John McCain’s economic policies, Obama acknowledged that the GOP nominee has asked his supporters to temper their attacks on him.

“I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other,” Obama told thousands of supporters at the first of four outdoor rallies in Philadelphia.

“Sen. McCain has served this country with honor,” he said two hours later, in the city’s Germantown neighborhood. “He deserves our thanks for that.”

“I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other,” Obama told thousands of supporters

At a town-hall event Friday in Minnesota, McCain took the microphone from a woman who said Obama is an Arab. McCain said, “No, ma’am,” and he called Obama “a decent, family man.”

McCain drew boos at the same event when he told a supporter who expressed fear at the prospect of Obama’s election that the Democrat is a “person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

Those reassurances aside, McCain’s TV ads continue to attack Obama sharply. Some hit his ties to a former radical who co-founded a violent anti-war group in the 1960s. Yet on Saturday at an event in Iowa, McCain didn’t mention the past association and focused on their policy disagreements.

Obama referred to the ads Saturday. “We’ve seen rough stuff on the TV from them,” he said. “I can take it for four more weeks,” but the nation cannot take “four more years of Bush-McCain economics.”

“I will be a president who puts you first,” he said, asking voters not to lose hope in the economy before President Bush can be replaced.

Polls show Obama leading in several battleground states, and some of his top surrogates feel victory is nearly in reach.

“The one thing we can’t let happen is for us to be overconfident,” Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell told donors at a Friday fundraiser, where he introduced Obama.
 

McCain drew boos when he told a supporter who expressed fear at the prospect of Obama’s election that the Democrat is a “person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

 
Although Obama says anything can happen in the campaign’s final 24 days, hints of his optimism are creeping into his unscripted remarks.

“In some ways this is a celebratory event” as “we’re now coming to the end of what has been a two-year process, an extraordinary journey,” Obama said at a second Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night. The host, Comcast executive David L. Cohen, said the two events raised more than $5 million.

As 250 major donors ate beet salad and mahi-mahi under a huge tent, Obama seemed to look ahead to his first term as president.

“We’re going to have to make some priorities, we’re going to have to cut some things out,” he said, referring to expensive goals such as improving health care, schools and college affordability.

“I’m going to be in some fights with my own Democratic Party in getting some of that done,” he said.

Defying tradition in GOP-leaning states, he said, he is leading McCain in Montana and North Carolina. His lead in Virginia, which Democrats last carried in 1964, is 6 or 7 percentage points, he told the donors.

Obama added, however: “Who knows what can happen in the next 25 days?”

Democrats have carried Pennsylvania in recent presidential elections, although sometimes narrowly. McCain has campaigned aggressively in the state, but polls show Obama leading.

Under a brilliant blue sky, Obama’s four events here drew 60,000 people according to Philadelphia police

Democrats usually win huge margins in Philadelphia and try to minimize their losses in the state’s smaller cities and more rural areas. Obama’s barnstorming of Philadelphia was designed to drive his base’s vote as high as possible.

Under a brilliant blue sky, Obama’s four events here drew 60,000 people according to Philadelphia police, but it was impossible to verify the estimates. At some sites, thousands of people were unable to get through the gates. They stood on cars and craned their necks for a glimpse, sometimes blocks away. Crowds cheered Obama’s motorcade as it arrived and left each site.

Obama read the same speech each time, but he ad-libbed a bit and seemed increasingly buoyant as the day progressed. Telling his favorite new story about buying pie from a Republican-leaning Ohio diner owner, he joked with a woman who called out from the Germantown crowd.

“You will make me some pie?” he asked. “What kind of pie do you make? Sweet potato pie?”

As the crowd roared, he poured it on. “We’re going to have to have a sweet potato pie contest,” he said. “I’ll be the judge, because I want my sweet potato pie.”

Source: AP

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