Tag Archives: McCain

Politics – ’08 Election (Just Giving It Away)

The right’s response to 9/11 was Iraq. The left’s response to 9/11 is Barack Obama. Need I say more? The financial crisis is one of confidence; the solvent for our present malaise is merely increased due diligence on future initiatives (e.g., conservative capital budgeting decisions). The government should continue to guarantee lines of credit.

The next four years is goinng to be rough; we will be set back even further than we were in the sixties.


Sarah Palin claims Barack Obama would ‘pal around with terrorists’

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 8,000 in Carson.
John McCain’s running mate questions the Democrat’s ties to William Ayers during a rally in Carson. The Republican running mate also visits Costa Mesa, and is expected to appear today in Burlingame.
By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 5, 2008
You can’t say she didn’t warn them.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin introduced herself to the nation with a now-famous joke about lipstick being the only difference between a certain dog breed and a hockey mom. On Saturday, the Republican vice presidential nominee unleashed her inner pit bull, accusing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of being someone who would “pal around with terrorists.”

Her accusation — made before an overflow crowd of more than 8,000 at Home Depot Center’s tennis stadium in Carson, and earlier in the day at a Denver fundraiser — signaled an increasingly abrasive stance toward Obama on behalf of her running mate, Republican nominee John McCain.

In Carson, Palin signaled her intentions early on in her 23-minute speech.

“One of my campaign staff said as I was walking out here, ‘OK, the heels are on, the gloves are off,’ ” she said.

The “terrorists” to whom Palin was referring is William Ayers, founder of the 1960s radical group Weather Underground, who is now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an acquaintance of Obama.

Palin began the attack with a wry observation about her disastrous Katie Couric interview — she appeared to draw a blank when asked which newspapers and magazines she reads. Palin, who later told Fox News that she reads the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications, said she was annoyed by Couric’s question.

Clearly buoyed by a well-received performance against her Democratic opponent, Sen. Joe Biden, in their only debate Thursday, Palin apologized for what she described as her “impatient” response to Couric.

“Evidently there’s been a lot of interest in what I read lately,” she said. “I was reading today a copy of the New York Times. And I was really interested to read in there about Barack Obama’s friends from Chicago. Turns out one of his earliest supporters is a man who, according to the New York Times, was a domestic terrorist, that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the United States Capitol.’ ”

The New York Times article, an investigation published Friday into whether Obama had a relationship with Ayers, concluded that the men were never close and that Obama has denounced Ayers’ radical past, which occurred when Obama was a child. The article also said Obama “has played down his contacts with” Ayers.

“This is not a man who sees America as you and I see America,” Palin said of Obama. “We see America as a force for good in this world. We see America as a force for exceptionalism. . . . Our opponents see America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who would bomb their own country.”

The Obama campaign responded forcefully. “Gov. Palin’s comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign’s statement this morning that they would be launching Swift Boat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation’s economic ills,” said spokesman Hari Sevugan.

“In fact, the very newspaper story Gov. Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Sen. Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less ‘pals,’ and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was 8. What’s clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy.”

Republicans have long been expected to attack Obama on the issue. In August a major fundraiser for McCain spent $2.8 million on an ad by the American Issues Project that questioned Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

(The donor, Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, helped fund Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that damaged John F. Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign when it called his Navy service into question.)

The anti-Obama ad aired in Ohio and Michigan in the summer. Last week, the McCain campaign said it would pull out of Michigan, a tacit admission that it expected Obama to carry the state. Palin, who did not know the campaign pulled out of Michigan until she read about it Friday, according to McCain aides, implied Saturday in Denver that she regretted the decision.

“Well, as I said the other day, I would sure love to get to run to Michigan and make sure that Michigan knows we haven’t given up there,” Palin said as she left a diner after visiting with soldiers’ mothers. “We care much about Michigan and every other state.”

California is a reliably Democratic state in the presidential race — yet it also is a reliable source of cash for Republicans. After the Carson rally Saturday, Palin attended a fundraiser in Costa Mesa.

Today she is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Burlingame, after which she is expected to leave for Florida. McCain, meanwhile, will take time off to prepare for his second debate with Obama, on Tuesday.

In Carson, Palin was interrupted numerous times by protesters, who were in turn shouted down by the crowd. She said that her father, Chuck Heath, was born in North Hollywood and that her grandfather was a Los Angeles photographer who specialized in shooting boxers. “I learned a few points about fighting from him,” she said.

Many people in the Carson crowd compared Palin favorably with Ronald Reagan.

“What’s wonderful about Sarah is that she’s liberated without being liberal,” said LaDell Jorgensen, 42, who drove from San Clemente for the rally. “She really connects with the old Ronnie Reagan patriotic people who love America.”

Paul Nissan, 56, of Culver City, said it gets kind of lonely being a Republican on the Westside of Los Angeles.

“What’s been set in motion with her makes it seem like California can get in the mix,” he said. “It’s encouraging for those of us out here in Reagan Country.”

Nissan’s friend, Jeanne Tanigawa, 57, said she was a McCain supporter even before he chose Palin.

“She’s like the cherry on top,” Tanigawa said.

Neither Nissan nor Tanigawa was bothered by Palin’s claim that Obama “would pal around with terrorists.”

“I’m aware of the background there,” Nissan said. “I think it’s down to where we’ve got to be blunt about associations and values. The ideological differences are so stark.”


Networks nervous over election night exit polls

Polling place surveys frequently overstated Obama vote during primaries

updated 3:10 p.m. ET, Fri., Oct. 3, 2008

NEW YORK – Barack Obama’s tendency through the Democratic primaries to perform better in exit polls than he actually does at the ballot box has some media organizations nervous heading into Election Night.

Television networks want to avoid having their performance become an issue for the third straight presidential election. Their political experts hope that experience gained during the primaries will help things run smoothly Nov. 4.

ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and The Associated Press pool resources to conduct exit polls in select precincts, hoping to glean information about why people vote the way they do and to help predict a winner or loser. A combination of actual vote counts and exit polls is generally used to “call” a state for one candidate or another.

Exit polls frequently overstated Obama’s vote during the primaries by as much as 3 percentage points.

“We’re concerned about it, but not, ‘Oh, my god, the exit polls are going to be wrong,”’ said NBC Political director Chuck Todd. “We’re aware it’s an issue and we’re doing everything we can to correct it during our survey work.” (Msnbc.com is a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft.)

Well-educated and young voters are more likely to agree to fill out an exit-poll survey, and both these groups have tended to favor Obama, the experts said.

Enthusiastic voters are also more likely to seek out pollsters, or at least not go out of their way to avoid them. That was true about Obama during the primaries, just as it was for Republican Pat Buchanan during the 1992 New Hampshire primary, said Kathleen Frankovic, CBS News director of surveys.

Danger of calling the race too soon
It was the exit polls’ overstatement of John Kerry’s support in 2004 that caused problems for the networks, particularly when the first wave of results were leaked on the Web. That led to a “quarantine room” reform that will be in place this year; the people with access to poll results are locked away until at least 5 p.m. EST, giving them time to check for any problems and keeping the early numbers from conveying false information and possibly affecting turnout.

The problems were more serious in 2000, when networks prematurely “called” Florida, and thus the election, for George Bush. It led to a congressional investigation into their practices.

For the Obama-McCain contest, there’s concern about whether some voters will say they voted for Obama but, for racial reasons, actually didn’t.

Frankovic said this was a real issue for pollsters years ago, but studies show it has virtually gone away. The false reporting was more pronounced when voters were actually interviewed by pollsters, but the current exit poll is a paper survey that voters fill out in private. It was only in the Northeast that Todd said he saw false reporting problems during the primaries.

A presidential election with a black man leading the ticket is uncharted territory for the United States, however.

Who talks to pollsters?
In general, Republicans tend to be less enthusiastic than Democrats about taking exit polls. An unknown this season will be whether resentment toward the media fomented by John McCain’s campaign will make his supporters even less willing to “help” them by taking a survey.

The smallest of factors can play a role in the makeup of a poll; some older voters, for instance, are uncomfortable dealing with young pollsters, and are turned off if they’re standing near partisan demonstrators. News organizations this week sued the state of Minnesota to block a state law that would keep pollsters more than 100 feet from a polling place.

Simply knowing all of this will help the news organizations be ready, the experts said.

“I wouldn’t overstate the concerns,” said Dan Merkle, decision-desk director for ABC News. “They are the kinds of things we’ve seen before with different elections and different candidates.”


Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of The Associated Press, said she’s aware of the issues but isn’t worried about the Election Night performance. In states where a race is close, the AP relies on vote counts to pick a winner, she said.

“The AP has never run out and called a close race based on exit polls,” Carroll said. Where they can be used to make a call is when the exit polls confirm pre-election polls in contests that are lopsided, she said.



Campaigns have to face financial mess

Obama, McCain say they have a solution


WASHINGTON –There’s more to it than lipstick on pigs.

The defining issue of the presidential campaign — the economy — confronted the nominees this week in the starkest of terms. This came about as the meltdown on Wall Street and government bailouts sent Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama scrambling to find footing on uncertain terrain where any misstep could end their hopes for the White House.

It sets the stage for a six-week run to Nov. 4 that promises to look more like off-road racing in mud-covered monster trucks than a dignified dash between two thoroughbreds.

Today, as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson talked up a still-vague program — expected to be finalized and approved as early as next week — potentially committing hundreds of billions of tax dollars to buy up bad loans and stabilize housing and financial markets, both candidates honed their messages with the possibility the U.S. economy could collapse before Election Day. “This is just an incredible outcome,” said Dana Johnson, Comerica’s chief economist, based in Dallas. “The only precedent that comes close is the bank failures of the 1930s.”

Now voters can add to the long list of issues — the solvency of Social Security, health care, energy policies, tax policies and the war in Iraq — this big one: who has the best plan to bring regulatory reform to the financial markets.

“The array of economic issues that are going to have to be dealt with by the next president is just mind-boggling,” Johnson said. That doesn’t make the choice easier for voters, but it sharpens campaign strategy.

It also adds import to next Friday’s first of three presidential debates. It is to focus on domestic issues. “The first debate may well decide the whole thing,” said Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Dean’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign, but also helped provide a model for the grassroots support Obama has tapped this year.

Accusations fly both ways

A week ago it seemed the bright shiny object in the campaign — McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate — might divert attention from tough issues. It all changed with Wall Street’s meltdown and the Bush administration’s response — a rush toward federal intervention that may have seemed surprising for the Republican White House but was generally supported by both nominees.

Obama should have an advantage on economic doubts in battleground states like Michigan and Ohio precisely because a Republican is president and a backlash could be expected.

But that edge is dubious, especially in Michigan where a Democratic governor has been unable to steer the economy into safer harbor.

The Wall Street turmoil gives McCain an opportunity — as long as he can avoid serious missteps like early this week when he said the economy was “fundamentally strong.”

Already staking a claim to being “the original maverick” for bolting his party at times — on immigration and tax cuts, for example — the financial crisis gives him a chance to appear strong and bipartisan, as well as well-prepared to moderate a free-market philosophy for the good of the country.

Obama, of course, has the same chance to make his case as the agent of clear-thinking change.

McCain called today for more investment transparency, regulatory reform and creation of a trust to bolster mortgage holders and financial institutions. On Thursday, he said he’d fire the Securities and Exchange Commission chair (though there’s a question whether the president can).

But he also sounded a partisan note, taking to task Democrats leading a “do-nothing Congress” and Obama, whom he linked to the excesses of mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The problem is it set off a new round of finger-pointing. Democrats sent reporters a newspaper article listing McCain’s campaign links with Fannie, Freddie and the mortgage meltdown — while Obama, after meeting with his economic advisers in Florida, suggested that what the markets need is confidence that “partisan wrangling” won’t slow reform.

Obama set down the tenets he believes need to guide Washington — saying whatever happens needs to help people on Main Street as well as Wall Street, be coupled with new regulations and be developed to stabilize global markets as well.

“John McCain and I can continue to argue about our different economic agendas for next year, but we should come together now to work on what this country urgently needs this year,” he said.

Partisans take their sides

The reality is that it is difficult for either party or candidate to win the blame game except with their partisans.

McCain is an unapologetic free market believer who has voted for deregulating markets in the past (though he also supported regulation at times as necessary). His friend and former adviser Phil Gramm helped to create a system to deregulate financial institutions — but it was approved by Democrat Bill Clinton’s White House and supported by some of the same people now advising Obama.

Unless there’s a major misstep, the race probably won’t come down to specific proposals. The intricacies of the market don’t, as Comerica’s Johnson said, lend themselves “to sound bites.”

McCain will smear Obama as the president who’ll raise your taxes. Obama has said he wants to keep middle-class tax cuts and raise taxes only on people making more than $250,000 a year and on oil company profits. Obama will smear McCain as a tool of rich corporate interests and their lobbyists, which, if nothing else, his support for financial reform this week seems to throw into doubt.

Which brings the campaign back — albeit more urgently — to where it was.

Can Obama lure the new voters who seem to be registering in battleground states, convince blue-collar voters that he will protect their interests and win the argument that McCain represents four more years of President George W. Bush’s policies?

Or can McCain keep his conservative base energized (without Palin in the forefront), swing the same blue-collar voters and, critically, women, to his side by getting them to find their comfort level with him?

The battle lines may not have changed, but now we’re talking about the cut and quality of the pork, instead of the shade of the makeup.

Contact TODD SPANGLER at tspangler@freepress.com.

Plausible Deniability

Obama’s attempts to inoculate himself from criticism that he lacks requisite experience to be POTUS ended in a backfire this week as McCain answered a local tv news reporter’s question of whether he thinks Obama is engaging in race demagoguery. McCain answered perfunctorily, “Yes, I’m sorry to say that he is and there is no place for that…” Obama quickly distanced himself from any notions that he was suggesting McCain is a racist and acceded the opinion that McCain is in fact not a racist.

If nothing else, this is a lesson of the power of insinuation:  In the case Obama was not confronted, he would have had the power of suggestion working to achieve his ends (of undermining his opponent). Since Obama was confronted, however, and since Obama was unwilling to come out and say that he thinks his opponent is of poor character,  Obama was able to take the plausible deniability route. Tom Daschle, in his apologetics this week on Chris Wallace’s Fox Sunday show, articulated the same. Namely, that Obama said no such thing and that he cannot be accused of launching baseless ad hominem attacks against John McCain.

Considering that Obama’s platform is supposedly a racially conciliatory one, the gesticulation and innuendo surrounding the dollar bill comment came across as intellectually dishonest and frankly, wearisome. Blacks are voting +- 95% for Obama. Therefore liberals don’t have a leg to stand on when decrying their favorite villain – i.e., white particularism.

Politics on Autopilot

I have to admit I’m not very inspired by our choices for POTUS in ’08, but I am motivated to vote by two things: 1. Fear and 2. Resentment.

I will vote McCain in November because:  1. I fear what an Obama Presidency will mean for this nation and for my future. 2. I resent the great and seemingly ever-increasing political pressure applied by the p.c. tools surrounding me.

It is beyond question that an Obama Presidency would result in two particularly noteworthy things: 1. A miscegenation explosion. 2. A great expansion of the powers of the federal government.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide the merits of either of these outcomes.

At any rate, this election is not about the issues (as stated or implied). It’s about what Baby Boomers think they can get away with. They think if they can use Red Herrings like environmentalism and Iraq and appeals to pathos such as using people without healthcare in America (oh yea, many of those are not citizens!) as pawns to lobby for Socialized medicine – because people really want to go to Europe or the Third World or Canada to see a doctor – they can avoid or derail any discussion about the unfunded entitlements crises with supercilious mocking or simply, hystrionics.

Ask nearly any Baby Boomer and they (sorry bad grammar) will tell you that they don’t have to deal with the fact that Medicare and Social Security can’t pay for themselves because they’ve paid into these programs their whole lives and they deserve their returns for the same. Unfortunately, the fact that Social Security is a ponzi scheme which will bankrupt my generation and reduce America to a second rate power before I become a grandfather is of no import to the Baby Boomers because they can’t be troubled with such minutia.

But this election is not about government budgets either. In fact, the one thing we never talk about in American politics is what [secretly] drives most if not all of our political decisions. The jobs market. Liberals want to enforce Affirmative Action, to seize power and oppress, vex and humiliate the white man into servile compliance, mocking and provoking him every step of the way. Conservatives want to be left alone to truck barter and trade – i.e., to get on with it.

Liberals want to make government bigger, bleed the white man dry (to take everything including his dignity – nothing is sacred) and enforce rules of political correctness (white compliance). Conservatives want to make government smaller and increase personal freedoms and thereby collective prosperity. I can’t think of much more to say on this matter without [caterwauling].

The Early Word: $21 Million May (NYT)

When Senator Barack Obama declined public financing for the general election, he committed himself to a lot of extra fund-raising. And he’ll have to do even more of it if he wants to do better than he did in the month of May, when he brought in about $22 million, as his campaign reported last night – a somewhat unimpressive figure relative to what he has achieved in previous months, and only slightly more than Senator John McCain’s haul. Experts say Mr. Obama likely experienced a surge in donations after he took the nomination earlier this month.

Filings to the Federal Elections Commission showed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign even deeper in debt — $22.52 million in debt to be exact. Griff Palmer, one of our campaign finance gurus, wrote us a note when her filing came in late Friday night:

The figure for May is $22.52 million, is up 15 percent from April’s total of $19.48 million.

In May, Clinton had $10.35 million in unpaid bills. She had $12.18 million in outstanding loans. (That’s all money she loaned to her campaign.)

In April, she had $9.48 million in unpaid bills and $10 million in loans.

Since last month she’s loaned her campaign another $2.2 million, a 22 percent increase. Her unpaid bills balance has gone up 9.2 percent.

Senator John McCain also took in more than $21 million in May, and when you compare combined cash on hand of the candidates and political parties, Mr. McCain and the Republicans are doing better than Mr. Obama and the Democrats, reports Dan Morain of The Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Obama is using the specter of Republican 527 groups to motivate donors, reports The Times’s John M. Broder. But the people behind some of those 527s are worried that there won’t be enough cash available to make an impact. Michael Luo of The Times profiles Floyd Brown, “who says it is his calling to tread where the campaign is unwilling to tread in finding malicious gossip on a Democratic nominee.” Think Willie Horton in 1988 – that was Mr. Brown, whose ads questioning Mr. Obama’s religion (he is a committed Christian) you might have seen, if only his operation had more money.

“It’s all about reaching a tipping point,” Mr. Brown said. “Swift Boats achieved the tipping point. I was part of a team that reached the tipping point in 1988. In 1992, we didn’t reach it. We might not this time. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try.”

Right now, the candidates are largely focused on how to pay for their campaigns, but Lori Montgomery of The Washington Post looks at how they’re going to pay (or not) for their policy proposals.

With Senator John McCain speaking in Canada on Friday, the topic of trade dominated the dialogue. Mr. Obama met with Democratic governors in Chicago to demonstrate unity.

Daniel Burke of the Religion News Service reports on Mr. Obama’s efforts to court the faithful, including a grassroots operation with the working title Joshua Generation, which will hold concerts and house meetings to target young Christians.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Obama, Senator Chuck Hagel, the Republican, is open to the idea of being your vice president. Senator Jim Webb was evasive on the matter.