Friday, October 31, 2008

Can Chambliss hold his Senate seat?

The crew at First Read explains that GA state law requires 50% plus one vote to win the senate race. Should no candidate reach that threshold (there is a third-party candidate in the race), a run-off election between the top two is scheduled for December 2.

I continue to be skeptical of a Chambliss defeat. Just imagine a run-off if it is literally to elect the 60th Democrat to the Senate. Will Dems turnout in the numbers necessary without Obama on the ballot? You can believe the Republicans will come out to vote.

What's the future of a political party,...

whose opening act is Hank Williams Jr.?

McCain hearts Hillary


Did you ever think you would live to see the day a Republican tied himself to Hillary Clinton?

Well, in a desperate attempt to save his campaign McCain is sending out a mailer in Pennsylvania praising Sen Clinton. "Senator Clinton knows knows how to reach across the isle to solve problems. Both she and John McCain have shown the American people proven results, not pretty words."

McCain goes on, "As the father of three daughters I owe Senator Clinton a debt for inspiring them and millions of other women in this great country that nothing is beyond their reach."

NRSC chair: Palin not qualified to be POTUS

This isn't helpful the weekend before the election. Chair of the NRSC, Sen. John Ensign:
"I do not think that [Gov. Sarah Palin]is experienced enough to be President of the United States - ...and certainly Joe Biden is much more qualified than Sarah Palin is.
To be fair, I edited out his trashing of Obama as equally unqualified. But still,....

It really is every man for himself right now in the GOP. Ensign is no doubt concerned he may be presiding over one of the biggest Senatorial defeats in history and he wants everyone to know it's Palin's fault, and McCain for picking her, because, you know, we've never really liked McCain anyways.

PA court rejects GOP voter surpression suit

In what has to be the flakiest of the GOP lawsuits to block voting this year, A Pennsylvania trial court judge refused to order ACORN to run public service messages designed by the GOP.

The court also refused to order ACORN to turn over to the GOP the names of those voters ACORN registered and refuse to block voters wearing partisan buttons, t-shirts, etc. from voting. So low is the Pennsylvania GOP's opinion of John McCain, that they are afraid any Republican who sees an Obama button on someone waiting to vote will immediately abandon McCain -- as if in a hypnotic trance -- and vote Obama. The judge was unconvinced.

Obama going on the air in Arizona

This will really frost McCain's pumpkin.
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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The GA senate race

Nate Silver makes the case that the polls in GA may be lowballing Chambliss' Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

My gut tells me that Chambliss wins in a nailbiter, but Democratic turnout (in early voting) is off the charts in GA.

And few things would make me happier than Chambliss going down.

GOP Voter Surpression

seems to be overwhelmingly falling flat.

TPM has a great rundown.

Keeping our heads

As we head into the home stretch,the polls will tighten-up. They always do. Always.

Expect 50 to 60% of so-called undecideds to go to McCain. It's not the end of the world. The sky is not falling. The campaign is not lost.

The tightening of the polls by even 1 or 2 points will get undue media attention because there is really not much else to report on at this late stage of the campaign.

The Obama campaign has the largest GOTV effort every mounted by any campaign anywhere. Rather that spend the weekend in an irrational panic, and emailing or calling me about it, call (I wouldn't bother with email or web sign-ups at this late date) your local Obama Biden office -- or better yet just show up -- and work for the campaign. If possible, take off work on election day to help out. One simple thing you can do is drive people to the polls. Many voters need a ride, especially the elderly.

I will be working all day on election day in North St. Louis City protecting citizens right to vote.

If you prefer, you can help right now without leaving home. Talk to potential supporters in Ohio today and help win the state for Barack.

There is a job for all of us and nothing staves off panic better than being involved.

They really don't get it.

The Right very sincerely doesn't get it. Here is exhibit #127



Who is target audience of this ad? Is it intended to move black votes to McCain? Or, more likely, ease white guilt?

The Economist for Barack Obama

Link.

America should take a chance and make Barack Obama the next leader of the free world


IT IS impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government’s huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack.

For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence....
There is more, of course.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Worried about election day

The Obama campaign is really worried that supporters will assume a win is guaranteed and not show up on election day.

American Stories, American Solutions

I was out tonight and missed Obama's infomercial. What did you think?

If you missed it too, here it is.

McCain defending Arizona?

TPM reports that McCain is is now running robocalls in his home state!

A recent poll showed McCain only leading Obama in AZ by 2 points.

Obama finally hits Palin

AFL-CIO's Internal Polling

Ambinder has some numbers from OH, MI and PA,
Among veterans, retirees and gun owners -- the three groups we microtargeted communication to in the final weeks of persuasion -- we've seen the numbers improve dramatically.

Among union gun owners, it's now 58-30 Obama, up from 48-41 in early September, a 21 point jump.

Among veterans we're at 58-32, up from 49-41 in early September. (+18)

And among retirees, we're now at 59-31, up from 52-37, a 14 point improvement, nearly double the margin
I'll believe it when the votes are counted. I drank too much Kool-Aid in 2004. This year I'm trying to err on the conservative.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Early black voting surge

Remarkable. People are standing in line for hours to vote early.

Turnout will be the story of this campaign, and I'm starting to believe Obama turnout is going to swamp McCain whose voters are becoming increasingly demoralized.

Nate Silver:
According to Michael McDonald's terrific website, there are three states in which early voting has already exceeded its [early voting] 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?
And we have a week to go.

There are no pollster models to manage this kind of minority and youth turnout, and so many voters having already voted by election day. One of the interesting aspects on election night will be watching the networks trying to grapple with exit polling data they don't trust.

Generation 'We'

A demographic tidal wave the Christian White™ doesn't even begin to see coming.

McConnell Calls on Stevens to Resign

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for Ted Stevens to resign in the face of his felony convictions.
McConnell is the third vulnerable Republican lawmaker this cycle to call for Stevens’ resignation, joining Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.). The GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), and vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have also called on Stevens to resign, as has Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
I don't think Stevens has any intention of resigning before the election.

"Whack job"

Mike Allen at his Politico Playbook: "a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless 'diva' description, calling[Palin] 'a whack job.'"

Meow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Republican Disconnect

The second best thing the Democrats have going for them is the fact that the GOP really doesn't get it. Stan Greenberg did a national survey of self-identified Republican with an enlarged sample and the results are interesting.

Republicans have been overplaying their hand and overestimating their national support for some time. The GOP has yet to come to terms with the end of the cold war, and a nation whose demographics are changing in ways that favor Democrats.

As long the GOP believe that their future lies in the Christian White they are going to be doomed to minority status. This doesn't mean they can't win the White House on occasions of Democratic fatigue (or buffoonery) , but a Christian White party will never again control Congress.

Greenberg's key findings,
  • While a sizable majority of voters say Republicans have lost in 2006 and 2008 because they have been “too conservative,” a sizable plurality of Republicans say, it is because they have “not been conservative enough.”

  • Over three-quarters of Republicans say Palin was good choice, while a majority of the electorate says the opposite.

  • Two-thirds of Republicans say McCain has not been aggressive enough, but a majority of voters think they have been too aggressive.

  • Looking to the future, a large majority of Republicans say the party needs to “move more to the right and back to conservative principles,” while an even larger majority of all voters say, it should move to the “center to win over moderate and independent voters.”

  • Finally, almost 60 percent of Republicans say “if Barack Obama is elected, he will lead the country down the wrong path and Republicans should oppose his plans,” while 70 percent of all voters say they “should give him the benefit of the doubt and help him achieve his plans.”

Those on the left are not immune to similar problems. The bottom line is that Americans are moderates and the successful political party will be the one that best understands this simple rule.

What a kook

Check out the lunatic interviewing Joe Biden from the Orlando ABC affiliate, WFTV.

Ted Stevens guilty

MSNBC reports that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) was found guilty on all 7 counts of "making false statements".

Given how bizarre this case has been, an appeal is certain, and it would not surprise me if the conviction is not overturned due to all the prosecutorial issues. In fact, it would not surprise me if the trial judge doesn't take the convictions away in post-trial motions, but that's not going to happen before Tuesday.

So it would seem that Alaska should be a Democratic pick-up but Alaskans are their own breed and it would not surprise me if they didn't vote for Stevens out of spite to everyone else.

The AP explains the legal implications on the election next Tuesday,
Despite being a convicted felon, he is not required to drop out of the race or resign from the Senate. If he wins re-election, he can continue to hold his seat because there is no rule barring felons from serving in Congress. The Senate could vote to expel him on a two-thirds vote.

"Put this down: That will never happen — ever, OK?" Stevens said in the weeks leading up to his trial. "I am not stepping down. I'm going to run through, and I'm going to win this election."

The look of an Obama administration

Marc Ambinder's election coverage has been gold plated all year.

Marc's now collecting information about who might be a part of an Obama administration, and I have to say I'm really pleased with the names being mentioned.

One interesting note, that I've read elsewhere also, is the belief that Robert Gates will stay on as SecDef for a period of time to manage with war efforts. Gates has really managed the politics of this very well and his staying on for a year or two (or more if all get along) would really make the transition to a new administration much easier.

Word is that Obama would announce his Treasury team very soon after the election.

Obama on fire in Canton OH

I just caught the end of Obama's speech today in Canton OH and he was on fire.

I'll post the video if it becomes available via the campaign.

Arizona pretty tight

Rasmussen: Arizona: McCain 51%, Obama 46%.

This is a little funny. Earlier, I had predicted Obama would win Arizona. While this no doubt sounded a little crazy, at that time Bob Barr was polling 7% in Arizona. Now it seems that Nadar and Barr both are hitting 2% to 3% of the vote and likely offsetting each other.

My people in Arizona tell me McCain has never been especially popular in the state with so many conservatives being very libretarian. But at this point, unless a surprisingly large number of Republicans defect to Barr (which is not showing up in polling) Arizona looks safely red this race.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When it rains, it pours,...

Via St. Cloud Times,
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann wrote a letter last year recommending a federal pardon for a major campaign contributor who was once convicted of felony money laundering, firearm and drug charges on the basis he had reformed.

This month, she withdrew that recommendation on behalf of Frank E. Vennes Jr., eight days after the FBI searched his Shorewood home and office and confiscated documents, money, art, coins and jewels that agents think may be related to a $3 billion investment fraud scheme in which Minnesota business mogul Tom Petters has been charged.

It gets worse

'Diva'

CNN.com,
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
Meow

McCain Palin drama

It's no secret that I'm bored to death with this election and just want it over. But I'm pretty sure the McCain Palin cat fight will sustain me these last 10 days.

The latest CNN Political Ticker,
Ensuring that news of the Republican National Committee's sartorial spending spree will remain in the headlines for at least one more news cycle, Sarah Palin on Sunday sounded off on the $150,000 wardrobe that was purchased for her in September, denouncing the report as "ridiculous" and declaring emphatically: "Those clothes, they are not my property."

A senior adviser to John McCain told CNN's Dana Bash that the comments about her wardrobe "were not the remarks we sent to her plane this morning."
Meow.
Photobucket
Jim Morin / Miami Herald (October 22, 2008

150,000 in Colorado today

Barack Obama appeared before 150,000 people today in Denver and Ft. Collins, Colorado.









The first McCain campaign retrospective

I can never decide if contemporary journalist are just lazy or crumbling under the pressure of the 24 hour news cycle.

Anyway, every 4 years the team that wins the election is hailed as geniuses while the losers are deemed incompetent or worse. The truth always lies somewhere in the middle for both camps. Sometimes, even a very well run campaign just loses, and a poorly ran enterprise wins despite itself.

As I pointed out earlier, the McCain campaign has always had an uphill battle and when judging their actions with the clarity of hindsight, this must be kept in mind.

Robert Draper's piece in today's NYTimes Magazine is all the buzz. It's the first magazine long-form retrospective of the McCain campaign (and there will be a hundred), and it's pretty interesting reading. Draper tells the story of shifting narratives looking for one that would stick.

One of the most interesting aspects of Draper's article -- and what will surely be one of the most written about campaign issues -- is selection Sarah Palin as the veep. Draper asserts that she was the first choice of Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and was the unanimous choice of McCain's top advisors who recommended her to the McCains as their top choice.

McCain / Palin in disarray?

Ben Smith has the latest and most detailed of the recent reports of disarray at Camp McCain and Palin "going rogue".
Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, ...Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain's camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain's decline.

"She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said Bill Kristol a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions....

"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide
Kitten's got claws.

Palin is very ambitious and as her numbers tank, her side is going to be leaking like a sieve....

And of course, Senator Honorable and his people will place all blame on her,...

Welcome to the big leagues Gov Palin.

PA GOP Staying classy

What's the rule about the first one to invoke Hitler?

Via The Caucus,
A new e-mail making the rounds among Jewish voters in Pennsylvania this week falsely alleged that Mr. Obama “taught members of Acorn to commit voter registration fraud,’’ and equated a vote for Senator Barack Obama with the “tragic mistake” of their Jewish ancestors, who “ignored the warning signs in the 1930’s and 1940’s.”

At first blush, it was typical of the sorts of e-mails floating around with false, unsubstantiated and incendiary claims this year.

But where most of the attack e-mails against Mr. Obama have been mostly either anonymous or from people outside of mainstream politics, this one had an unusually official provenance: It was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s “Victory 2008” committee.

And it was signed by several prominent McCain supporters in the state: Mitchell L. Morgan, a top fund-raiser; Hon. Sandra Schwartz Newman, a member of Mr. McCain’s national task-force monitoring Election Day voting, and I. Michael Coslov, a steel industry executive.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The sad and sordid case of Ashley Todd

The emotionally disturbed McCain volunteer turned race-baiter deserves our pity.

But the response to this sordid campaign episode from the Right-Wing deserves our revulsion. Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution documents the buffoonery who saw this event as a vindication of their racist views.
Andy McCarthy at the National Review’s Corner responded with a post so embarrassing he has now taken it down so nobody can see it....

Josh Painter at redstate.com blamed the attack on Barack Obama, suggesting an “Obama thugocracy” was coming: When Obama “urged his supporters to get in their face, did it not occur to him that some of his more deranged followers might take him literally?” Painter asked.

He was echoed by fellow redstater Erick Erickson, who wrote: “Hey! The dude was just doing what The One asked him to. Full pardon on January 21st.”
But most offensive was the response of Fox News executive VP John Moody:
“If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee,” Moody wrote. “If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.”
What on earth would a mugging in Pittsburgh have to do with Barack Obama? In the white world of John Moody is every African-American in America responsible for actions of every other? I know my racist great aunt Evelyn certainly thought so, but the executive VP of Fox News?

I find these reactions just stunning. Their sense of vindication for all their racists views. "See, we told you this would happen if you let a black man in the White House".

And yes, Moody's suggestion that McCain's campaign must now be deemed over is also absurd.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A cautionary tale

Hey, look at Indiana

Wassup 2008

Palin's $36,000 hairdo.

And they mocked Edward's haircut?

Via The AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — An acclaimed celebrity makeup artist for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin collected more money from John McCain's campaign than his foreign policy adviser. Amy Strozzi, who works on the reality show "So You Think You Can Dance" and has been Palin's traveling stylist, was paid $22,800, according to campaign finance reports for the first two weeks in October. In contrast, McCain's foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, was paid $12,500, the report showed.

McCain's campaign said the payment covered a portion of her work in September and a portion of October. An earlier campaign finance report showed Strozzi was paid $13,200 for a portion of September.

62%

of Americans think it is "a good idea to raise income taxes on households and businesses that make MORE than $250,000 a year in order to help provide health insurance for people who are not covered by health insurance" according to the most recent CBS/New York Times poll (pfd).

This is something Republicans have never understood. Bill Clinton's tax policy always had majority support.

There is nothing leaning about PA

Only moments ago, one of the talking heads on MSNBC described Pennsylvania as "leaning" Obama, which is the most common way we hear talking heads describe Pennsylvania.

Would someone please explain to me what exactly is "leaning" about Obama's 13 point lead in PA, which has voted for the Democrat for 20 years.

Is Indiana falling?

Note the polling trend in Indiana,
  • Oct 23 SurveyUSA
    Obama (D) 49%, McCain (R) 45%


  • Oct 23 Univ. of WI
    Obama (D) 51%, McCain (R) 41%


  • Oct 21 PPP (D)
    Obama (D) 48%, McCain (R) 46%


  • Oct 9 Rasmussen
    McCain (R) 50%, Obama (D) 43%
Indiana has not voted Democratic in a Presidential election since 1964.

You will see similar trends in Montana and North Dakota and Georgia may yet come into play. These are all states which the Ward Report has listed as red states on its electoral map. These trends again illustrate the impossible path McCain has to 270 electoral votes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Most negitive campaign?

As the debate goes on about who is running the most negative campaign, there is an important distinction.

Without question, the Obama campaign has ran negative ads, mailers etc. against McCain. But the difference is that Obama's negative ads are about issues, and McCain's campaign positions. The Obama campaign has gone to some lengths not to attack McCain personally or his patriotism.

The McCain campaign on the other hand, has been assaulting Obama's character and patriotism for months ("rather lose a war...", "Paling around with terrorists..." etc).

There is a difference, and it's not a media invention.

364 to 174

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the Presidency. Bush won 286 electoral votes in his re-election. Bill Clinton was the last president to break 300 electoral votes having won 370 electoral votes in 1992 and 379 in 1996.

When you look at the electoral map and the electoral math, you can appreciate how far down John McCain really is in the race. My map has Obama winning 364 electoral votes, and what we've seen all week is Obama's leads hardening in each of these states.

But to appreciate McCain's dilemma, and thus the despair of his campaign, consider this: McCain can win Ohio and Florida and still not win the presidency.

Photobucket

Is the McCain campaign sputering out?

Yesterday, Jonathan Martin (who covers the McCain campaign for Politico) reported that outside groups were not coming to the aid of McCain,
...thanks largely to lack of passion for McCain within the conservative base, diminished hopes that he can win and a sharp decline in the stock market that has badly pinched donors’ pockets, veteran Republican operatives say it appears almost certain that what could be the most damaging line of attack against the Democratic nominee will be left on the shelf.

“It’s Oct. 21, and if you can’t say it by Oct. 21, then chances are you’re not going to say anything,” said Chris LaCivita, the strategist behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004.
Today, Martin reports that the blame game has already started within the campaign,
At his Northern Virginia headquarters, some McCain aides are already speaking of the campaign in the past tense. Morale, even among some of the heartiest and most loyal staffers, has plummeted. And many past and current McCain advisors are warring with each other over who led the candidate astray.

One well-connected Republican in the private sector was shocked to get calls and resumes in the past few days from what he said were senior McCain aides – a breach of custom for even the worst-off campaigns.

“It’s not an extraordinarily happy place to be right now,” said one senior McCain aide. “I’m not gonna lie. It’s just unfortunate.”

Obama breaking away in OH?

Obama's lead in OH has been tight, but it looks like it might finally breaking open.

Via Jonathan Martin, three new polls out today from Ohio show Obama's lead over McCain widening.
University of Wisconsin: 53-41

Quinnipiac: 52-38

TIME/CNN: 50-46

Latest NRSC ad assumes Obama win

Well, this is awkward. Ben Smith brings us the latest ad in support of Libby Dole who may be going down in North Carolina.



This sort of thing has to be dispiriting at camp McCain.

Palin In 2012?

We can all agree such things are way to early, but Ambinder makes a thoughtful argument.

Here's a taste
There's a suspicion in some McCain loyalist precincts that Gov. Sarah Palin is beginning to play the Republican base against John McCain -- McCain won't let her campaign in Michigan...McCain won't let her bring up Jeremiah Wright... McCain doesn't like her terrorist pal talks....
_____

And if she wants the job, she's easily the frontrunner to become THE voice of the angry Right in the Wilderness. She is a favorite of talk radio and Fox News conservatives, and speaks their language as only a true member of the club can. (Her recent Limbaugh interview was full of dog whistles that any Dittohead would recognize. Including her actual use of the word ditto.)

Palin will have plenty of time to become fluent on national issues. She will easily benefit from the low expectations threshhold, and will probably even garner positive reviews from the MSM types who disparage her today.

Palin will be judged to be "ready" in four years. George Will and David Brooks and Peggy Noonan will all swoon over her once more. Ok, maybe not George Will.
Ambinder has a lot more.

In deference to Matt S, we'll call this "The Nightmare Scenario"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

VP run could be financial disaster for Palins

There is a real chance the Palin's are going to be in a real financial bind when this election is all said and done.

Jake Tapper reports that the $150k in clothes is likely taxable income to Palin.

And it's a safe bet that the $40k plus in family travel and per diem money Palin got from Alaska is also income. They could owe more than $50k in taxes, interest and penalties.

And what if Alaska asks for the money back?

Bachmann raises $1.3M for opponent

from her recent Hardball appearance and now NRCC has pulled its funding from Bachmann.

And, the DCCC has pledged $1M in media buys.

This is truly remarkable. In just 5 days Bachmann goes from being the heavy favorite to having lost hundreds of thousands in GOP money for media and raised a net $2M for her opponent. While she may yet win re-election, she has placed her seat in real jeopardy.

And she did all this to herself. Tinklenberg couldn't get noticed before her appearance on Hardball and the DCCC had no intention of spending money in the district.

Amazing.

McCain / Palin on brink of meltdown?

I didn't see Hardball tonight but thanks to TPM, we have the clip of Chuck Todd being very forthcoming about the McCain / Palin chemistry during their NBC interview.

Patriotism

What is patriotic about convincing people that a presidential election you lose is illegitimate and invalid due to non-existent voter fraud?

The woman Bill Kristol sees as the future of the GOP

Let's hope Kristol has this one right.

The AP reports that Gov Palin explained the role of VP to fake American third grader Brandon 'Garcia',
"That's a great question, Brandon, and a vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president's agenda, they're like the team member, the team mate to that president," Palin said.

"But also, they're in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it's a great job and I look forward to having that job," she said.
(HT to Matt S who pointed me to this story)

Klein vs. McCain, part 105

It's hard to remember that Joe Klein was recently an adoring admirer of John McCain.

In today's installment, Joe offers Patriotism 101,
Anyone who talks about the "pro-American" parts of the country is making an anti-American statement.

Anyone who talks about the "real" parts of Virginia doesn't understand that all of Virginia is real--just not the reality as fantasized by the sort of people who see some parts of the country as more "pro-American" than others.

Anyone who describes one part of the country as "most patriotic" has lost all sense of what patriotism means.
Joe then takes a deserving dig at John Murtha before concluding rather bluntly,
But, seriously, you have to wonder why John McCain has spent so much time questioning the patriotism of others, especially his opponent, in this campaign. Is it because he once signed a prison "confession" that he considered treasonous? If so, please know that we don't blame you. You're a patriot, Senator, and a hero...at least, you were until you started questioning the patriotism of others--by saying things like they'd rather win an election than a war, and by implying that they're soft on terrorists. Then you became something else entirely. And it hasn't worked very well, has it?

Time's Jay Carney on Powell's impact

Like many folks, Jay was very skeptical about Powell's timing two weeks before the election with Obama leading all polls.
But then I watched Powell and listened to what he said. HIs indictment of his own party's political tactics was more than powerful; it was convincingly sincere. His timing, it turned out, make perfect political sense. And, as Maureen Dowd wrote this morning, Powell's finest moment was when he told Tom Brokaw that what really bothered him about the sinister rumors labeling Obama a secert Muslim wasn't that they were a lie; it was the suggestion that there was something un-American about being a Muslim.

Of course, conservatives never really trusted Powell. And now their suspicions have proved valid. And it's not just because he endorsed a Democrat for president. Worse still, he reads the New Yorker.

Palin's couture illegally purchased?

Ambinder points to 2 USC 439b(2)(B)(b) which expressly prohibits use of campaign funds for clothing purchases.
(b) Prohibited use

(1) In general
A contribution or donation described in subsection (a) of this section shall not be converted by any person to personal use.

(2) Conversion
For the purposes of paragraph (1), a contribution or donation shall be considered to be converted to personal use if the contribution or amount is used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign or individual’s duties as a holder of Federal office, including—
(A) a home mortgage, rent, or utility payment;
(B) a clothing purchase;
(C) a noncampaign-related automobile expense;
(D) a country club membership;
(E) a vacation or other noncampaign-related trip;
(F) a household food item;
(G) a tuition payment;
(H) admission to a sporting event, concert, theater, or other form of entertainment not associated with an election campaign; and
(I) dues, fees, and other payments to a health club or recreational facility.
This is why the campaign is now claiming that they always intended to donate the clothing to charity. They intend to argue that the clothing purchases were not "a conversion" as defined above because they were never intended for "personal use".

McCain going all in on Penn

McCain is pulling back in several states to go all in on Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania hasn't voted Republican in a presidential campaign in 20 years, and McCain is down by 10 points. Add to this the fact that winning PA doesn't get McCain to the 270 electoral votes needed to be POTUS.

Expect very ugly race-baiting and Rev Wright ads in Western PA between now and election day.

Our tax dollars at work

Unbelievable. It seems that bankers are making the case for nationalizing their banks and firing them.

Via the WaPo,
Several major U.S. banks are leaning toward spending a portion of their federal rescue money on acquiring other financial firms rather than for issuing new loans, the primary purpose of the government's $250 billion initiative to invest in banks.

J.P. Morgan Chase, BB&T, and Zions Bancorporation have all said in recent days that they are considering using some of their federal money to buy other banks.

Two workers quit rather than read Ayers attacks

TPM says two Call Center Workers quit their jobs rather than read the Ayers smear to voters.

Palin bills state to fly kids around the country

When the dust settles from this campaign, I'm thinking Gov Palin is going to have some explaining to do back home.

The AP has reviewed the travel expense vouchers Gov Palin has submitted for her children's travels and found some serious irregularities.

It important to remember that in Alaska, unlike most states, you can't drive to many of it's cities including the state capital in Juneau. So I think it is entirely appropriate for the state to pick up the tab of the first family traveling to Juneau while the Governor is staying at the capital on business. But Governor Palin has flown her children everywhere with her on the state dime.

And most damning for Palin is that she ordered many of the expense vouchers "amended" when it became clear they would be made public.

Palin often contacted event organizers to arrange invitations for her children and sometimes she just showed up with them -- to the surprise of organizers. One trip on the state dime was to watch their father start a snowmobile race in Ketchikan (accessible only by air or boat), and 4 nights in NYC for her and Bristol to attend a 5 hour conference. While in NYC the Governor and Bristol stayed at the Essex House at $707/a night. Say what you want, I like how she rolls,....

FLA early voting

56 percent of the early votes cast in Florida on the first day of early voting were Democrats while 29 percent were Republican.

This mirrors the results in North Carolina and has to be good news.

This widespread early voting is really going to skew exit polls.

Al Qaeda for John McCain

While this may be a hoax, the AP reports that Al Qaeda endorses McCain for President,
Al-Qaida supporters suggested in a Web site message this week they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the U.S. as a way to usher in a McCain presidency.

The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah Web site, said if al-Qaida wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, "impetuous" Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier," the message said. "Then, al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush."

SITE Intelligence Group, based in Bethesda, Md., monitors the Web site and translated the message.
The McCain campaign has scheduled a conference call to insist Al Qaeda can only want Obama in the White House.

RNC shells out $150K for Palin fashion

Clothes from Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barney's NY. The kids, Todd and Levi appear to have also benefited.

And it is likely these expenses were illegal. FEC opinions don't permit campaign funds to be spent on items for personal use.

And they call Obama an elitist?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

West Virginia out of reach

Having declared West Virgina out of reach for Obama, we've dropped the WV pollster map from the side bar and added Nevada.

Likewise, we're giving up on Indiana, and have put North Dakota in it's place.

Contrasting tones in the campaigns

The difference in tone between the campaigns is really striking.

Last week Palin made clear she will only visit "pro-American" parts of the county while McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer called Northern VA not the "real Virgina" and today McCain called Western PA "most God-loving, most patriotic part of America."

It seems that the campaign is actually seeking to divide the nation, but how exactly does that build the lasting coalition necessary not just to win the election but to govern after?

McCain shows no interest in a message to looks beyond the traditional GOP base, which is smaller than ever.

In contrast, the Obama campaign takes great pains to be as inclusive as possible catering messages to groups not traditionally supportive of Democrats (example here), and campaigning in traditionally hostile states in hopes of expanding the map. It's easy to view this cynically, but inclusiveness is just good leadership. If a President really wants to be effective in office and move an agenda, that president needs the largest coalition he can build.

Activist on the Left as well as the Right forget this.

Marc Ambinder had an interesting post earlier today wondering what the GOP will look like after this campaign. Will the next GOP candidate be forced to cater to the feelings of anger and resentment the McCain campaign is stoking at every campaign stop to win the nomination? The nations demographics are working against the current GOP which needs to be expanding it's base, not further entrenching around southern cultural politics.

McCain puts foot in mouth

McCain, attempting exploit Rep. Murtha's recent comments about Western PA, "couldn't agree more,..." and then it gets better.

There won't be any Obama upset of WV

Obama enters October with $134M

Obama had $134M in the bank on October 1, which means he will be able to spend more than $250M the last month of the campaign.

AFL-CIO GOTV

This is impressive.

Via Marc Ambinder
The AFL-CIO labor federation willl deploy 250,000 volunteers to 20 states over the next few weeks, hoping to maximize turnout among 13 million specially targeted union members. This is the largest independent GOTV program in the nation.

With its member-to-member communication and up-to-date microtargeting, AFL-CIO officials say they've seen significant evolution in the hard-to-reach parts of the voter universe:

Active members who own guns support Obama -- the margin has doubled since September.
Active members who are veterans now support Obama by 13 points. Active union members in Appalachia (Ohio and Pennsylvania) supported McCain and Obama evenly in September and now support Obama by 22 points. Retirees in the battleground states now support Obama by nearly 30 points.

120,000 of the volunteers will work in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania; 25,000 be deployed from states like California, New York and Illinois.

According to AFL-CIO officials, union voters in aggregate have received nearly 70 million phone calls, had their doors knocked on 10 million times and recieved 57 pieces of mail.

In addition to the 250,000 volunteers, the AFL-CIO is paying for 4,000 people to work full-time on election between now and November 4.

GOP to challenge voters in NV

The Nevada GOP chair has contacted contacted the Nevada SoS block certain voters from casting ballots.

It appears this will be the national strategy. It is it really a wise approach?

Traveling

I'm traveling on Montana this week so posting might be sparse.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bleak

Having lost CO, Iowa and NM, the electoral map for McCain is bleak,
The McCain strategy depends on holding a handful of Bush '04 states that are now rated tossups by CNN: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri and Nevada. It also depends on keeping Virginia, which CNN now considers leaning Democratic, in the GOP column.

But even if McCain won all six of those states, in addition to those in which he is already favored, he would still be shy of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency.

Which is where Pennsylvania and its 21 electoral votes come into play. Most polls show McCain trailing by 10 points or more in the state, but one top adviser told CNN on Monday, "The election hinges on Pennsylvania. We'll win Virginia and Nevada in the end, but lose without Pennsylvania."

President Bush twice heavily targeted Pennsylvania — but both times came up short.
McCain's campaign manager wants to play the race card. What will Senator Honorable do?

The enimies list

Andrew Sullivan,
Joe Klein joins Maureen Dowd among those barred from the McCain and Palin planes. There were empty seats on Palin's plane last week and Klein was still not allowed on. The Clintons let him on after "Primary Colors." McCain and Palin, like their mentor in resentment, Nixon, have an enemies list, and enforce it. Like Nixon's list, future generations will brag of being on it.
Being on that list would be like a dream come true for me.

McCain abandoning Colorado?

CNN's John King says the McCain campaign is making some tough choices.

Iowa and New Mexico too.

All 3 states voted for Bush in 2004.

How much longer will they continue to pour money in Virginia?

I've removed Colorado from the Pollster side bar and added Georgia.

Is the race tightening up?

Much coverage this week will be focused on daily polling with reports that the race is tightening.

And if the race is not tightening now, it will before election day. The race always tightens up. Remember that in 2004, the final Fox poll showed Kerry with a 2 point lead.

Check out this post, which looks back at 2004.

Finally, all the talk of the race tightening is good a good thing. The Obama campaign is very concerned about supporters not turning out to vote on the assumption that the race is over. This has always been a problem with young voters and the primary reason their support is not taken seriously. Can't you just hear twenty-somethings telling each other that there's no point to stand in line and vote because "everyone knows it's over".

Ken Adelman to vote Obama?

So says George Packer at the The New Yorker online.

For most people, Adelman is pretty obscure, but he's a lifelong hard-core conservative (Reagan's Director of Arms Control) who's never voted for a Dem in his life.

In an email to Packer, Adelman explains,
Why so, since my views align a lot more with McCain’s than with Obama’s? And since I truly dread the notion of a Democratic president, Democratic House, and hugely Democratic Senate?

Primarily for two reasons, those of temperament and of judgment.

When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.

Second is judgment. The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate.

That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency. But that selection contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign—Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick.
My favorite part is, "just plain weird".

This is not the kind of thing that moves any votes, but Adelman is very serious guy who is extremely wired in the Republican foreign policy elite. This is a very personal blow to McCain.

Rick Davis: Campaign Rethinking Playing The Rev. Wright Card

No big surprise here.

Senator Honorable Rethinking Playing The Rev. Wright Card.

The logic being that Since Rep. John Lewis -- who does not speak for the Obama campaign -- accused the McCain campaign of using tactics reminiscent of George Wallace that the McCain was given license to use tactics reminiscent of George Wallace.

One of the talking heads this weekend had made the claim that the last two weeks of Mondale's losing 1984 campaign one of Mondale's advisors told him to "campaign like you want your grandchildren to see you."

I thought McCain might actually seek to restore a little honor to his campaign in these final weeks.

Obama's message machine

Is very impressive.

As Marc Ambinder explains, it first swallowed Hillary and now McCain,
Right now, it seems that everyone from David Brooks to the Chicago Tribune to the Washington Post to Joe Klein to Christopher Buckley is praising Obama for his temperament.
This, too, is no accident. The Obama campaign has been quietly pushing the temperament frame for months.

This is why voters and members of the media recoiled so quickly at John McCain's repeated stunts in September. It's true; most of McCain's biggest wounds have been self-inflicted. But imagine, if you will, that the McCain campaign had decided to stick with just one storyline about Obama, beginning in the summertime: that he is indecisive and weak, and never takes a stand on real issues.

Forget the Ayers stuff, the Wright stuff, the kindergarten stuff: they could have made his "present" votes the centerpiece of their attack, along with a whole host of supporting anecdotes.

Meanwhile, McCain could have been framed as a bold leader, independent of both parties, who took unpopular stands time and time again.
Ambinder is clearly on to something. The new and "different" Obama has always been the challenger and Ambinder nails it on what McCain's message should have been. But McCain also needed just a little more steadiness.

How many times have Obama supporters -- myself included -- panicked in the face of ups and downs in the race? McCain's team has panicked too changing message almost daily in desperate attempts to "change the race". But had McCain just been steady with message discipline as Ambinder outlines, his Veep choice and in his conduct in the face of Black Monday this would be a very, very different race.

The Obama campaign stands in stark contrast. He's always had a plan and he's stuck to it, steady rock even as supporters panicked over HRC's hits and then McCain's. Recall this post from August when McCain was really putting the heat on Obama.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Selling Obama in blunt terms to W. VA Democrats

From Ben Smith at The Politico,
"He is black" was the first thing Kenny Perdue, the state's AFL-CIO president, said. "The gentleman that's in the White House and John McCain — they're white men. And I'm absolutely ashamed of what George W. Bush has done to this country."

The president of the United Mine Workers, Cecil Roberts, spoke after Perdue in a parking lot set in the flat plateau below the remains of a strip-mined mountain.

"I'd rather have a black friend than a white enemy," he said. State Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey spoke, too. Casey, 57, grew up Irish Catholic in Charleston, and he said the bus was following John F. Kennedy's bus route in the 1960 Democratic primary.

"There's a lot of people out there think you're a bunch of inbred, redneck racists," he told a couple dozen people wearing union hats and jackets. "They say you won't vote for a man who's black."

"The rest of the country thought when Kennedy ran we were a bunch of ignorant, inbred religious bigots," he said. "They were wrong, and we made Kennedy president."

McCain's Radical Pal

Joe Klein does an excellent job explaining why so many media folk here-to-fore held John McCain in such high regard -- and why he has fallen so far.
After McCain was tortured and broken by the North Vietnamese and signed a confession of “criminality,” he was so ashamed that he attempted suicide—and later made a vow that he wouldn’t question the decisions or statements made by anybody else about the war. And so, when he arrived in the U.S. after his released and was asked about the antiwar protesters by Life magazine, he refused to condemn them. He kept to this policy, more or less, until 1984 when, as an ambitious young politician, he was asked by the Reagan campaign to deliver a speech slamming one of Walter Mondale’s top advisors—his campaign counsel, David Ifshin—for going to Hanoi, and giving aid and comfort to the enemy during wartime.

McCain gave the speech but, he later told me, felt great remorse about it. “I didn’t know the guy. I’d never met him,” he told me.

McCain and Ifshin met the following year at the annual AIPAC convention in Washington—and there is some disagreement what happened next: Both men later told me that the other initiated the conversation by apologizing. “McCain said, ‘I’m sorry I gave that speech. I didn’t even know you’” Ifshin told me. “And I said to him, ‘You’re apologizing to me?’ I’ve been wanting to apologize to you for years. I feel so terrible about that speech I gave in Hanoi.”
The two became fast friends. They did charitable work together in Vietnam and elsewhere. When Bill Clinton went to the Vietnam Memorial for Memorial Day 1993, both Ifshin and McCain were there, too. And when McCain saw a sign in the crowd—“Clinton: Tell Us About Ifshin”—McCain went to the floor of the Senate the next day and said, “Let me tell you about David Ifshin…David is a friend of mine.”
And when David was diagnosed with cancer, John McCain was there for him. And when David died, McCain gave one of the eulogies at his funeral. His voice broke when he said, “David taught me a lot about the meaning of courage.”
Unlike Jane Fonda who was 35 when she visited Hanoi, Ifshin was barely 21. Nevertheless, I don't know that I would have ever forgiven Ifshin if I were McCain. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would not.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan




On MTP this morning, Colin Powell spoke movingly of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, an New Jersey native and Muslim who gave his last full measure in service of the country in which he was born.

Karen Tumulty has done some reporting on Kareem.

Powell this morning expressed real concern about those Republicans who seek to demonize Muslim Americans:
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Rush calls Powell racist

No big surprise here.

Via The Politico,
"Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race," Limbaugh wrote in an e-mail. "OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with."
Well, Powell endorsed George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and Bush would fit two of Rush's three criteria.

Houston Chronicle for Obama

It's not news that the LA Times or the NY Times would endorse Obama, but it is news when the Chicago Tribune or Houston Chronicle endorses the Democratic nominee.

The Houston Chronicle has not endorsed a Democrat since 1964.
....After carefully observing the Democratic and Republican nominees in drawn-out primary struggles as well as in the general campaign, including three debates, the Chronicle strongly believes that the ticket of Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden offers the best choice to lead the United States on a new course into the second decade of the 21st century.

Obama appears to possess the tools to confront our myriad and daunting problems. He's thoughtful and analytical. He has met his opponents' attacks with calm and reasoned responses. Viewers of the debates saw a poised, well-prepared plausible president with well-articulated positions on the bread-and-butter issues that poll after poll indicate are the true concerns of voters. While Arizona Sen. John McCain and his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have struck an increasingly personal and negative tone in their speeches, Obama has continued to talk about issues of substance.
_____

Perhaps the worst mistake McCain made in his campaign for the White House was the choice of the inexperienced and inflammatory Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. Had he selected a moderate, experienced Republican lawmaker such as Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison with a strong appeal to independents, the Chronicle's choice for an endorsement would have been far more difficult.

In comments to the Chronicle editorial board during his Texas primary fight against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama explained why he believed he would be the best choice for president.

"More than any other candidate, I could bridge some of the partisan, racial and religious divides in this country that prevent us from getting things done," said Obama. "I believe that I could attract independents and some disillusioned Republicans into a working majority to bring about change on critical issues."

Back in the spring, Obama's sentiments seemed more a hope than reality. Since then, we have watched him grow in the roles of candidate and leader, maintaining grace under fire without resorting to political expediency. He is by far the best choice to deliver the changes that Americans demand.
Photobucket
Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (October 14, 2008)
Robert Ariail / The State (Columbia, S.C.) (October 17, 2008)

$488,000

Minn Public Radio is reporting this morning,
Bachmann's DFL challenger Elwyn Tinklenberg's is reporting that he's raised $488 thousand since Bachmann made her comments on Friday. The DCCC also sent out a fundraising e-mail this morning saying they will get into the race if they raise an extra $100 thousand.
You can go here and give a little love to the DCCC to get them to bring Tinklenberg some media cash and expertise.

And seriously, no amount is to small. Even $5 or $10 helps.

Economy didn't help McCain meltdown

But it wasn't the sole reason either.

A popular Republican meme, which Joe Scarborough among others is peddling, is that McCain was on his way to victory following a traditional social conservative campaign having only been derailed by "Black Monday", and McCain's now infamous statement "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." This view is at best intellectually lazy.

Fortunatly we have Pollster.com and the tools to look at the campaign at any given date. This is a snapshot of the race taken on 'Black Monday', September 15, 2008. Note that with the exception of his convention bounce, McCain never lead Obama in the polling and by September 15th the bounce was over and Obama had a net and growing lead.

9-15-2008 snapsht

There is no question that the economic meltdown has been a huge boost to Obama and albatross to McCain, but it did not have to be so. The so-called elder statesman needed to only show steady leadership in the face of the crisis to outshine Obama. His media base was just waiting for it to happen, and just the opposite happened -- McCain had a meltdown and looked like an angry out-of-touch old man. We love our cranky grandpa but we're uncomfortable with him driving, much less leading the world.

America is changing and if the GOP thinks social conservatism is the key to their future, it's going to be a long Democratic ride.

More than $150M for September

A breathtaking number.

John McCain has $84M to spend from his convention until election day.

The Obama campaign must file it's September FEC disclosure tomorrow and released the information to supporters by emailing a video from David Plouffe early this morning.

I'm sure this is a number the campaign wanted to keep under wraps as long as possible so as not the dry up donations this month.

Obama is on pace to out-raise and out-spend George W. Bush and John Kerry combined.

Colin Powell endorses Obama (Updated below with Video)

Expressing concern for the rightward shift of the Republican party, the ugliness of the McCain campaign, and the choice of Sarah Palin 'who is not ready to be president' Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President this morning on Meet the Press.

In the most moving part of the endorsement, Powell was very troubled by Republicans pushing the Obama as Muslim falsehood. Powell first pointed out that it was not true that Obama was a Muslim, and second asked, "so what if it were true?" "Is there something wrong with a 7 year old kid who is a Muslim who thinks he or she could be president?" Powell recalled a photo he had seen of a grieving mother at Arlington weeping over the grave of her son. Her son was a Muslim American born in New Jersey who was 14 years old on Sept 11, and waiting until he was 18 to join the service, and was killed in Iraq in service of his country.

Powell described William Ayers activities in opposition to the Vietnam war as "despicable" and likewise described the raising of Ayers tenuous contacts to Obama also as "despicable".

Powell had nothing but positive words for Barack Obama praising his "depth of curiosity," "substance", sound judgment and the steadiness he has shown in the economic crisis style which contrasted McCain lack of steadiness and clarity of response. Powell called Obama "a transformational figure".

Saying "it's not easy for me to disappoint John McCain as I've done today" Powell explained that we need a president who will not purse the course of the current administration and need a "generational change" and a "transformative figure".

I'll post the video of the endorsement when I can find it.

Here's the video:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Possible Powell endorsement

Earlier I cautioned about the motives of Republicans leaking a possible Powell endorsement of Obama.

On MSNBC just now an Obama spokesperson was asked if Powell not endorsing Obama would be 'a blow to the campaign'. This is exactly what I was talking about yesterday. Spinning the media such that if a Republican endorses a Republican it's a blow to the Democrat.

Obama at the Arch

Obama at the Arch

I have just returned from the Obama rally under the arch. The WSJ reports a crowd of 100,000 making it the largest Obama campaign event in the U.S.

I think 100,000 is an exaggerated number, but it was a very large crowd. Standing in the crowd, it was impossible to judge the size. Obama was just a dot in the distance from our vantage point. The wide angle lens used by the photographer on a cherry picker to get the entire crowd as well as Obama in the pic, makes the Arch lawn look much longer than it is. Never the less, it was a very large crowd that became apparent to everyone as we poured out into downtown to leave.

Most interesting to me was the festival atmosphere of the event with people everywhere selling shirts and button and souvenirs, there was a flag twirling team in on of the parks leading to the Arch grounds, etc. It like the Obama campaign is a traveling road show.

Obama's stump speech was fine, but pretty much the same has we've been hearing. He thumped McCain for claiming that tax breaks for the working poor were "welfare" and emphasized that one had to actually be working to qualify.

Is it just me, or is McCain still playing exclusively to his base? What are we to make of the fact that 17 days from the election and 10 points down, McCain can't or won't look ? The ├╝ber patriot bullshit, and the welfare baiting may be red meat to the GOP base, but it's not getting him anywhere near the voters he needs. Has McCain in actuality conceded the election and is simply playing to save face by bringing out the base which could also save some endangered House and Senate members?

And all you need to know about the state of the campaign is that while Obama is speaking to his largest crowd ever in red state Missouri, McCain is forced to spend his day in North Carolina that has not voted for a Democrat since 1964.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bachmann on Hardball

Earlier I mentioned Rep Bachmann's (R-MN) appearance on Hardball. She's a real nut job.

Here, she calls on the media to investigate members of Congress for anti-American views.



Bachmann is opposed by Democrat El Tinklenberg. His website is here. stop by and show him a little love if you can spare even $10 or $20.

NYTs on the robo calls

It appears the MSM is picking up on these calls.

Michael Cooper at the The Caucus Blog of the NYTs,

It was just nine months ago that Senator John McCain and his campaign were decrying a series of negative robo-calls that were being made to voters before the South Carolina primary accusing him of voting to “use unborn babies in medical research.”

But this week Mr. McCain, and the Republican Party, have launched their own series of searing robo-calls attacking Senator Barack Obama. According to recordings of the calls collected by Talking Points Memo, the calls exaggerate Mr. Obama’s ties to Bill Ayers, the former member of the Weather Underground, question the candidate’s patriotism by accusing him of “putting Hollywood above America,’’ and say that he opposed a bill “requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions.’’

The calls – being reported in a number of swing states – were just the latest instance of Mr. McCain embracing the very kind of negative or misleading campaign tactics he once denounced. (The Huffington Post also has posted audio of a call.)

Defending Ayers

When Republicans get Democrats defending Ayers they have won the fight and accomplished their goal.

This is one of the oldest games they play. They are doing the same thing with ACORN.

Rev Jerimiah Wright

The McCain campaign just went there. Rep. Michelle Bachmann from Minn is getting grilled by Chris Matthews on Hardball right now. She's been speaking for McCain the last couple days.

Matthews is grilling her on the suggestion that "liberals" are "leftist" revolutionaries and asking her if she believes they are anti-American. Specifically asking if Speaker Pelosi, Harry Reid, Obama, etc. are anti-America.

As Rep. Bachman was being grilled, she went to Wright a few times questioning Obama's association with Wright.

Bachmann also thinks the media needs to be investigated to make sure they are loyal Americans.

We will see a lot of this before the election.

Chicago Tribune: Obama for President

For the first time in its storied 161 year history, the Chicago Tribune endorses a Democrat for President.
However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president....

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.

Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics....

It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country....
(HT to Tim who brought this to my attention.)

What's going on at the DoJ?

Via the NYTs,
But law enforcement officials sought on Thursday to ratchet down speculation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had begun a broader investigation into the group’s activities. Some officials said privately that they were wary of being pulled into a highly partisan controversy so close to Election Day.

The officials said their investigation of Acorn’s activities would, for now, focus on reports of voter registration fraud that have surfaced in several states.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the House judiciary committee, want's an explanation from the Attorney General and FBI director. He concludes his letter to them with this,
Accordingly, I condemn the leak of this sensitive information and remind you both of your and your agencies' obligations to handle election-related matters in an appropriate and non-political matter as the election season proceeds. In addition, please let me know no later than Thursday, October 23, 2008, if the release of information and all other actions taken regarding this investigation are consistent with the US Attorneys Manual and the Election Crimes Manual and, if not, what action has been taken in response. Please direct your response to the Judiciary Committee Office at....

Will Powell endorse on MTP?

It's a fact that Colin Powell will appear this Sunday on Meet the Press.

Mike Allen from the Politico reports GOP speculation that Powell will endorse Obama.

I'll believe it when Powell says it. Until then, I assume this is a GOP scam.

Lawrence O'Donnell wrote on Wednesday (before the MTP appearance was known) that a Powell endorsement of Obama was "beyond doubt".
Powell has made it clear that he has been thinking about an endorsement for a long time but wanted to hear more from the candidates before making his choice. It now seems beyond doubt that Colin Powell will endorse Barack Obama and thereby hammer the final nail in the coffin of the Republican campaign to hold onto the White House.

The recent ugliness of the McCain-Palin rally audiences cannot be lost on Colin Powell. And Powell is not one to ignore a 14 point lead in a New York Times poll. But most important for Powell and the press will be his explicit rejection of the Bush-McCain approach to Iraq, Iran and the rest of the world.
Of course such an endorsement would be great but the 'good soldier' could just as easily endorse McCain with all the subsequent press coverage mentioning that it was supposed to be Obama's and thus turning a Republican endorsement of a Republican into an Obama smackdown.

God Save the United States and this Honorable Court

The SCOTUS has vacated the Ohio GOP temporary restraining order that would have compelled the Ohio SoS to provide the Ohio GOP a list of registered voters who's voter registration doesn't match the state drivers license database. The GOP intended to use this information to prevent college students (who licenses almost universally show their parents address) lawfully registered from voting on election day and likely to also challenge non-white voters in urban precincts.

The SCOTUS blog provides the legal details.

The Obama campaign and Moveon, etc. need to get the word out to their bases just what the GOP is up to nation-wide. They need to pay a PR price for such blatant attempts to prevent lawful voters from voting.

Dick Luger in IN

Marc Ambinder wants to know why Dick Luger isn't campaining for McCain
in Indiana.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama buying airtime in WV

Flexing is financial advantage, Obama is buying air time in West Virginia. Is he serious or just trying to force McCain to spend money he doesn't have defending a state that should be a gimme?

Biden will be making appearances in WV in the coming weeks.

It seems pretty clear that Obama is trying to build a mandate, which he will certainly need.

McCain / RNC go nationwide with nasty robocalls

TPM has documented the nasty calls.

One of them (listen HERE) says:

"I'm calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions -- a position at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama and his liberal Democrats are too extreme for America. Please vote -- vote for the candidates who share our values. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202 863 8500."

Another (listen HERE) says "Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats got caught putting Hollywood above America. 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 fundraiser. Where are the Democrats' priorities?"

A third (listen HERE) says, "Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats aren't who you think they are. They say they want to keep us safe, but Barack Obama said the threat we face now from terrorism is nowhere near as dire as it was in the end of the Cold War. And Congressional Democrats now want to give civil rights to terrorists."

A fourth (listen HERE) says, "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. 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."

What exactly could a McCain administration hope to accomplish with a Democratic Congress having sown so much salt these last 3 months? I guess these guys don't even care.