Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe The Plumber Throws McCain Under The Bus

McCain was in Ohio today - home of Joe the Plumber, John McCain's running mate for the last two weeks. McCain just threw a shout out to Joe, who was supposed to be there today. Well:

- did someone get stood up? When Sarah Palin was in Ohio yesterday, Joe was there. Even Joe the Plumber gets that McCain is finished.

Maybe Joe was meeting with his PR team trying to get his country music deal. No matter, even Joe the Plumber has gotten what he can out of John McCain.

The McCain campaign actually had to bus in school kids from the surrounding area in order to fill the event. As reported by MSNBC:
A local school district official confirmed after the event that of the 6,000 people estimated by the fire marshal to be in attendance this morning, more than 4,000 were bused in from schools in the area. The entire 2,500-student Defiance School District was in attendance, the official said, in addition to at least three other schools from neighboring districts, one of which sent 14 buses.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prominent Republicans Endorsing Obama

  • Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts William Weld
  • Former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee
  • Former Republican Governor of Minnesota Arne Carlson
  • Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach
  • Wayne Gilchrest, Congressman from Maryland
  • Larry Pressler, Former Senator from South Dakota
  • Lowell Weicker, Former Governor and Senator from Connecticut
  • Richard Riordan, Former Mayor of Los Angeles
  • Jim Whitaker, Fairbanks, Alaska Mayor
  • Linwood Holton, Former Governor of Virginia
  • Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State
  • Douglas Kmiec, Head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan & Bush (41)
  • Charles Fried, Solictor General of the United States under Reagan
  • Jackson M. Andrews, Republican Counsel to the United States Senate
  • Susan Eisenhower, Granddaughter of President Eisenhower and President of the Eisenhower Group
  • Francis Fukuyama, Advisor to President Reagan
  • Rita Hauser, Member of President Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
  • Larry Hunter, Former President Reagan Policy Advisor
  • Bill Ruckelshaus, served in the Nixon and Reagan Administrations
  • Scott McClellan, Former Press Secretary to President Bush (43)
  • Ken Adelman
  • Jeffrey Hart, National Review Senior Editor
  • Wick Alison, Former Publisher of the National Review
  • Christopher Buckley, Son of National Review Founder William F. Buckley and former National Review columnist
  • Michael Smerconish, Columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • C.C. Goldwater, Granddaughter of Barry Goldwater Wall Street Journal


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Monday, October 27, 2008

Former GOP Senator Backs Obama

Former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD), "who was the first Vietnam veteran to serve in the United States Senate, is the latest Republican to back Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign," according to Politico.

"I just got the feeling that Obama will be able to handle this financial crisis better, and I like his financial team of [former Treasury Secretary Robert] Rubin and [former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker better," he said. By contrast, John McCain's "handling of the financial crisis made me feel nervous."

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Rove On McCain: "Very Steep Hill To Climb"

John McCain has a "very steep hill to climb" to win the election, former White House adviser Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."

Rove, nicknamed "The Architect" for his role in helping President Bush win the last two elections, gave a sober assessment of McCain's chances, explaining that Barack Obama is ahead with 317 electoral votes, according to his own electoral map.

Rove forecast that Virginia, Colorado, Indiana and Ohio would go Obama's way and that McCain has to win back those states and dominate the remaining battleground states to have any chance of winning:

In order to -- in order for McCain to win, he's got a very steep hill to climb. He's got to win all of the toss-up states, 64 electoral votes, all the yellow-shaded states on the map.

Then he needs to strip away Ohio and Indiana with 31 electoral votes to get him to 252. And then he needs to either win Colorado and Virginia, which gets him to 274, or win one of them plus Pennsylvania, which would get him to 282 or 286. It's a steep uphill climb.

Rove also commented on recent reports about infighting within the McCain campaign:

It is a sign of undisciplined people who do not have the loyalty that they ought to have to the candidate whom they're serving. And it's -- it's a sad sight to see. Nobody makes themselves look good by this process..

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Alaska's largest newspaper has endorsed Obama.

The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska's largest newspaper, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama:

Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.
Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

Read the whole article here.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Right Wing Nut Job, Florida WFTV anchor Barbara West, flips out

Read All About it Here..........

Barack Obama: 'Defining moment' TV ad

Right Wing Blogosphere On Death Watch

The Republican attack machine which has dominated and damaged American politics for so long -- is dying.

From Media Matters:

Mary Mapes, of CBS' Memogate fame, delights in the demise of the right-wing bloggers' influence this election cycle:

Nothing makes me happier than seeing once swaggering players like Powerline, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs forced onto the sidelines, left to limply watch this campaign pass by like a parade in which they play no meaningful part.

They just don't matter anymore.

And don't forget about Drudge!

And fyi, from Portfolio [emphasis added]:

The Huffington Post drew more than 4.5 million unique visitors in September, making it the most-trafficked stand-alone political website or blog, according to figures just released by ComScore. Huffpo's traffic increased by 474 percent versus September 2007. In comparison, the Drudge Report drew a little over 2 million uniques, up 70 percent year-over-year.


Huffington Post and Politico Lead Wave of Explosive Growth at Independent Political Blogs and News Sites this Election Season


Political Blog Visitors Skew Older, Wealthier, More Male than Overall U.S. Internet Population


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Republican's Are Wrong About Tightening National Polls

Republican Punditocracy Are Wrong About Tightening National Polls

Newsweek: Obama 53, McCain 41.
Rasmussen: Obama 52, McCain 45.
Gallup: Obama 51, McCain 44.
Zogby: Obama 51, McCain 41.
ABC: Obama 53, McCain 44.
Battleground: Obama 49, McCain 46.
TIPP: Obama 46, McCain 42.
CBS: Obama 52, McCain 39.
FOX: Obama 49, McCain 40.
AP: Obama 44, McCain 43.

AVERAGE: Obama 50.0, McCain 42.5 (Obama +7.5%).

Today's Article:
National Polls Not Tightening Despite Reports

The Associated Press has released a poll that shows a much closer race than any other poll out ther. Now,

But, the poll doesn't make sense on many levels. Here's one example: 45% of this poll's respondents are evangelicals or born-again Christians (this is on page 20 of the poll's crosstabs (it's a pdf):

The problem? In 2004, evangelicals/born-again Christians made up 23% of voters. But that same group makes up 44% of likely voters in AP's poll released today. That's almost double the number - it's totally implausible.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain Adviser Endorses Obama

Conservative legal scholar and Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried, who just endorsed Obama, isn't just a Republican. He's actually one of McCain's campaign advisors.

Fried on McCain's Honest and Open Election Committee and Justice Advisory Committee.

Key to his decision was McCain's "choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis."

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Breaking: McCain Volunteer's "Mutilation" Story Made Up

Show your support.
Buzz this article up.
Buzz up!
  • Is This Joe The Plumber's Sister?


A Pittsburgh police commander says a volunteer for the McCain campaign who reported being robbed and attacked near a bank ATM in Bloomfield has confessed to making up the story. Police say charges will be filed. More details to follow.

More of the story from AP:

This hysterical reaction from the Executive Vice President of Fox News: “[T]his incident could become a watershed event in the 11 days before the election. 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. If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.”

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spread the truth about ACORN

Host a house party: In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has been attacking ACORN, a widely respected voter registration organization, claiming ACORN knowingly participated ...

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain Palin In A Nutshell

Palin's haute couture............$150,000
Palin's make-up.....................$13,200
Endorsement by al-Qaeda....Priceless.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

GOP "Death List"

Voter displeasure with the war and economy, coupled with Sen. Barack Obama's popularity, has the House GOP running for cover. Even though polls have shown that Americans don't like congressional Democrats any more, a new internal GOP tally of House races suggests a Democratic route that could keep the Republicans in the minority for decades. A document provided to Washington Whispers from a House GOP official shows that they could lose a net 34 seats. That means the Democrats would have a 270-165 advantage in the 111th Congress. In the Senate, Republicans expect to lose also but to keep up to 44 seats, ensuring their ability to stage a filibuster.

The document provided to Whispers is no gag: It comes from one of the key House GOP vote counters. The source called it a "death list."

Read the whole story here.

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Obama's Lead Widens: 52%-38%

Growing Doubts About McCain's Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct

Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain has steadily increased since mid-September, when the race was essentially even. Shortly after the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, Obama moved to a 49% to 42% lead; that margin inched up to 50% to 40% in a poll taken just after the second debate. Currently, Obama enjoys his widest margin yet over McCain among registered voters, at 52% to 38%. When the sample of voters is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Obama leads by 53% to 39%.

Obama’s strong showing in the current poll reflects greater confidence in the Democratic candidate personally. More voters see him as “well-qualified” and “down-to-earth” than did so a month ago. Obama also is inspiring more confidence on several key issues, including Iraq and terrorism, than he did before the debates. Most important, Obama now leads McCain as the candidate best able to improve economic conditions by a wider margin (53% to 32%).

Obama’s gains notwithstanding, a widespread loss of confidence in McCain appears to be the most significant factor in the race at this point. Many more voters express doubts about McCain’s judgment than about Obama’s: 41% see McCain as “having poor judgment,” while just 29% say that this trait describes Obama. Fewer voters also view McCain as inspiring than did so in mid-September (37% now, 43% then). By contrast, 71% of voters continue to think of Obama as inspiring.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 16-19 among 2,599 registered voters interviewed on landline phones and cell phones, finds that McCain’s age also has become more of an issue for voters. Roughly a third (34%) now says that McCain is too old to be president; in the Sept. 9-14 survey, just 23% said this. At this stage in the 1996 campaign, about as many voters (32%) said Republican candidate Bob Dole was too old to be president.

In addition, Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing – if not an increasing – drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view. In mid-September, favorable opinions of Palin outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Palin: 60% now express an unfavorable view of Palin, up from 36% in mid-September. Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate.

GOP Voter Fraud

Well, all the talk about voter fraud in this election has finally resulted in some action. Someone was arrested in California on voter-fraud related charges. The interesting part is...he's a Republican. The LATimes:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GOP Operative Arrested In Voter Fraud

Gop Operative arrested and charged with voter registration fraud,

The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario late last night on suspicion of voter registration fraud.

State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California.

Jacoby's arrest by state investigators and the Ontario Police Department comes after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by his firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM. The voters said YPM tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters. The firm was paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP.

YPM is also tied to Voter Fraud In Florida

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Brzezinski Smaks DownMorning Joe

Zbig the Scar Slayer." Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski just destroyed Joe Scarborough on his own show and left him speechless and lying bloody on the ground. Scarborough had been ranting and raving for most of the previous segment with Pat Buchanan, belittling the Powell endorsement because of the Iraq War.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Help Obama

Write A Letter To The Editor For Obama

Palin's America

Since her coming out in Dayton, Ohio on August, 29th, Palin has held (or is scheduled to hold) public events in 44 cities according to the candidate tracker. These include all events described as "rallies", "town halls", "gatherings" or "discussions", but not things like press availabilities, fundraisers or debates.

Let's look at the racial composition of voting-age (18+) population in these 44 cities as according to the 2000 census.They are, on average, 83.3 percent non-Hispanic white, 7.5 percent black, 5.2 percent Hispanic, and 4.0 percent "other". By comparison, the US 18+ population in 2000 was 72.0 percent white, 11.2 percent black, 11.0 percent Hispanic, and 5.9 percent other. Thirty-four of Palin's 44 cities were whiter than the US average.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sorting out the truth on Obama, ACORN

Click Here...........

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Florida GOP May Be Committing Voter Registration Fraud

YPM, a group hired by the GOP, allegedly deceived Floridians who thought they were signing a petition. YPM denies any wrongdoing. Similar accusations have been leveled against the company elsewhere.

Read The Full Story

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Censure Michele Bachmann

On the October 17 episode of MSNBC's Hardball, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota claimed that Barack Obama and other members of Congress share anti-American views.

Watch the video, and then sign the petition below!

Sign the Petition

Or go to:

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Simon Rosenberg: Expect McCain to Gain Ground These Final We

McCain might gain a little ground. Nobody panic!

read more | digg story

Friday, October 17, 2008

About Joe The Plumber

Joe "The unlicensed Plumber"

& Joe Six pack and Joanne Wine Box, think a 401K is a lottery ticket. Their health plan is the community emergency room. Many Joe six packs moved to to my neighborhood in the last 3 years using sub prime mortgages and will soon lose their homes all together. I can tell things are getting bad for them, they took down their confederate flag to use it for curtains, gas is getting so high they put both their cars up on blocks. Joe And Joanne always vote like they know they are going to be millionaires one day, they keep waiting for that lottery ticket to come through.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Buzz On Plumber Joe

Here's the buzz from the internet:

  • Wurzelbacher, who says he was playing football outside with his son when he came upon the crowd gathered around Obama, was planted by the Republican party. This would explain how conservative sites got stories posted about him in advance of the debate and how easily everyone else found him for interviews.

(One thing that is on the record: Wurzelbacher compared Obama to Sammy Davis Jr. in an interview with Katie Couric. Ouch.)


So far, nobody can find him being a registered plumber. Can look it up here: Last name: Wurzelbacher
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Joe The Plumber

Two readers with access to the Ohio voter file say that Joe Wurzelbacher's inluence on this cycle will be limited in one way: He doesn't appear to be registered to vote.

Oh, And by The Way, Joe owns a few, business's

Joseph Wurzelbacher (Joseph Wurzelbacher Cnstr Co)
12172 Stone Mill Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45251-4134


JCC INVESTMENTS INC in the Investors, N.E.C. industry in CINCINNATI, OH. This company currently has approximately 1 to 5 employees and annual sales of Under $500,000.
Location Information Edit


Wurzelbacher Painting
12148 Stone Mill Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45251-4134 (Map)


Wurzelbacher Brothers
(513) 385-6666
11260 Colerain Avenue,
Cincinnati, OH 45252
Phone: (513) 385-5264

Bloggers at DailyKos are working on the fact, that, Joe is related to the son in law Of Keating of Keating Five, one Robert Wurzelbacher


So far, nobody can find him being a registered plumber. Can look it up here: Last name: Wurzelbacher

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama's White Shift

Virginia and North Carolina show a major shift by white voters benefiting Sen. Barack Obama. Florida whites are also moving but at a somewhat slower rate. The total number of white votes shifting from McCain to Obama is around 900,000 currently.

That number will vary depending on turnout and campaign events. The exact size of the vote shift is important but it's not nearly as significant as the "white shift" phenomena.This "white shift" is the topic of a just released survey by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh North Carolina. The decades-long pattern in Southern presidential contests consisted of heavy white support for the Republican presidential candidate consistently defeating the remainder of white voters plus the 90% support by black citizens consistently voting for Democrats.For the first time in decades, there are signs of cracks in Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy This divisive approach may soon be put to rest where it belongs, in the dust bin of history.

In the essay accompanying the poll, Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling made it clear that the "white shift" was moving south. He said:

If You Can Not Read The Links Visit:

Or Http://

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Moron At McCain Rally Speaks Up

John McCain supporter Gayle Quinnell told the crowd at a McCain Rally in Minnesota that "Obama is an Arab." McCain took away the microphone but failed to address Quinnell's unabashed bigotry or the incidents of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-African American bigotry that has become an increasingly regular feature of GOP rallies as the election draws near. "No ma'am," he says. "[Obama's] a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."

Above, an interview with Quinnell done via streaming cell phone. Interviewers include Noah Kunin, Senior Political Correspondent from The UpTake, Adam Aigner of NBC News and Dana Bash of CNN.

Quinnell said she obtained the information on Obama being an Arab at "her local library" and from a pamphlet obtained at a local McCain campaign office (provided by a fellow volunteer not the campaign itself). She has taken it upon herself to redistribute the information as widely as possible by making copies of the pamphlet and sending it to random names in the phone book.


Gayle Quinnell: I went to the library in Shakopee and I got lots of ... three pages of information about Obama

Adam Aigner of NBC News: And what kind of information did you get?

Quinnell: I got to tell you, you call me. It's a long story. I'm afraid of what's going to happen to this country.

Aigner: What would you think would happen? Do you think it would become Muslim country and what would that mean?

Quinnell: It would be bad

Aigner: So even though Senator McCain told you that he didn't feel that was true and you ought to be more respectful, you still fear that?

Quinnell: I still do. Yeah. I'm not alone. I go to Burnsville, the main Republican headquarters and I do a lot of work over there. A lot of sending out mail and talking to people. And all the people agree with what I'm saying to you about Obama.

Aigner :Then do you feel there are a lot of volunteers for McCain who feel that way?

Quinnell: Yes. A lot of them. In fact I got a letter from another woman that goes over there to Burnsville and she sent me more things about Obama.

Aigner: What was on the letter?

Quinnell: Oh all kinds of bad things about him and how, I mean I have to tell you to call me. It's all bad.

Reporter: Are a lot of people getting this letter and are a lot of people believeing it and is that turning a lot of votes or support for McCain?

Quinnell: Yeah I sent out 400 letters. I went to Kinkos and I got them all printed out. And I sent about 400 letters. I went in the telephone book and sent them out to people. So they can decide if they would want Obama.

Aigner: Can you give me your name again?

Quinnell: Gayle Quinnell and I honestly think that these people hear about this Obama, they wouldn't want him.

Aigner: Because they would know what you know in the letter?

Quinnell: Yeah, he read that letter. In fact when I was standing in line , there were about eight girls, young girls standing in line. And they said "what have you got." I had one of the letters and they said "Give it to me. I want to read it. I want to read it" And they read it. And they just went (shakes head) . They hadn't read it before and they didn't (unintelligible) all that information. To me it's bad news.

Aigner: So maybe if I call you you'll give me one of the letters maybe?

Quinnell: I sure can!

Aigner: You don't have another one on you now?

Quinnell: No I don't. But I can give you what I got and I can give you what she sent me in the mail.

Aigner: I'd be interested to read it.

Quinnell: OK

Aigner: And can you spell your name for me?

Quinnell: Q-U-I-N-N-E-L-L

Aigner: E-L-L? And Gayle is just...

Quinnell: G-A-Y-L-E

Aigner: And where you from?

Quinnell: I'm from Shakopee.

Aigner: Shakopee?

Quinnell: Shakopee, Minnesota

Aigner: And and I'm sorry how old are you ma'am?

Quinnell I'm 75

Aigner: 75?

Quinnell: (Nods yes) And I got a lot of grandkids and a lot of kids, I've got five kids. I got seven grandkids and they all think the same way.


Noah Kunin (The UpTake): Do you volunteer at the Republican Party Headquarters or the McCain Campaign office over in Burnsville?

Quinnell: McCain. McCain Headquarters in Burnsville.

Noah: The McCain headquarters.

Quinnell: It's out over by , over by that post station there.

Noah: Yeah, I know which one you're talking about. And just to be sure to make sure we got your quote OK, you called Obama and Arab terrorist?

Quinnell: Pardon?

Noah: You called him an Arab terrorist? Is that correct? Why do you think he is an Arab?

Quinnell Because his dad is. If you... I'll send you the paper.

Female reporter: His dad is Muslim His dad was Muslim. Barack Obama has never been a Muslim.

Quinnell: No but he's....

Dana Bash of CNN: He's a Christian.

Quinnell: He's not an Arab either, he's a --

Bash: His father was Muslim, and he's a Christian.

Quinnell: Yeah, but he's still got Muslim in him. So that's still part of him. I got all the stuff from the library and I could send you all kinds of stuff on him. In fact....

Bash: What did you think about McCain said. He said he's a decent person.

Quinnell: Well he did have didn't have (unintelligible)... I think McCain wanted to (unintelligible) I don't think he wanted to say anything against him. You know he didn't want to cut him down. That was my way of thinking. I don't think he wanted to cut him down. So he just kind of brushed me off.

Reporter: Plus he criticizes Barack Obama plenty himself, so why wouldn't he do it now?

Quinnell: Well I probably brought up something that he didn't want to talk about.

Reporter: Do you think John McCain thinks that he's Arab? Do you think he knows this stuff that you're saying you know is fact?

Quinnell: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want to bring it up then. I don't know why. Is there some way I can get to you more information.

Bash: Can you wait for me for like five more minutes?

Quinnell: Yeah.

Bash: I want to an interview on camera. Our camera team is occupied right now. What's your name?

Quinnell: Gayle Quinnell (Spells name again)

Bash: In case I lose you, you don't have a cell phone do you?

Quinnell: No I wish I had it on me but I don't.

Bash: See the pretty lady over there with red hair? That's our camera. As soon as she's done , we'll be over there Ok

Reporter: What was your reaction when Senator McCain backed away

Quinnell: What was my reaction? Well when he didn't want to talk about it...

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

ACORN's response to Palin/ McCain smear

Please send this far and wide--or use the info to devise your own blunt list of bullet points,
and send them everywhere.

ACORN's response to Sen. McCain's smear 

ACORN President Maude Hurd released the following statement today in response to the McCain campaign's new ad claiming that, among other things, ACORN is responsible for the mortgage crisis:
"For almost a decade, ACORN, a community organization of 400,000 families in neighborhoods across the country, has been fighting against the predatory lending practices that have robbed our members of their homes, destabilized neighborhoods, and roiled the global economy.

"In his newest ad, John McCain's campaign bizarrely claims that 'ACORN forced banks to issue risky home loans, the same types of loans that caused the financial crisis we're in today.'  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, ACORN has worked successfully to help working class families get good home loans on fair terms from legitimate banks and has fought vigorously against predatory lenders who have ripped off families in our communities. These predatory loans caused the crisis.

"For more than a decade, ACORN members have held protests, released reports, and advocated for regulations to protect homeowners from predatory lenders. ACORN organizers and volunteers have been working day and night to help victims of the GOP economic meltdown to save their homes from foreclosure. In fact, ACORN has brought class action lawsuits against several predatory lenders, and has lobbied the Federal Reserve and Congress in support of regulations against predatory lending. ACORN has even been successful in convincing many lenders to treat homeowners more fairly and help families be able to make their mortgage payments and save their homes.

"Unfortunately, the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans like John McCain have blocked the sensible regulations that ACORN and others proposed that would have averted the mortgage meltdown. If John McCain thinks that community organizers caused the foreclosure crisis, he knows even less about the economy than previously thought.

"John McCain and the Republicans are desperately trying to shift the blame for the economic crisis they caused with a philosophy of deregulation and indifference to homeowners. All the grainy footage and creepy music in the world can't cancel out some simple, basic facts, and the facts about the economy are not on John McCain's side."

Bogus claims of "voter fraud" mask GOP's own vote suppression

ACORN has just completed the largest, most successful nonpartisan voter registration drive in US history. We helped 1.3 million low-income, minority and young voters across the country register to vote.

Unfortunately, just as in 2006, that success in bringing people into the democratic process, have been greeted with unfounded accusations to disparage our work and help maintain the status quo of an unbalanced electorate.

After a similar spate of charges against ACORN in 2006, we learned that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had fired Republican US Attorneys because they refused to prosecute ACORN and other voter assistance groups on trumped up fraud charges. This was the heart of the US Attorney-gate scandal that led Karl Rove, Gonzales and other top Department of Justice officials to resign. Because the press didn't catch on until long after the election, it was part of a successful strategy to create an unfounded specter of voter fraud and to suppress voting.

Key Facts:

1. In order to help 1.3 million people register to vote, we hired more than 13,000 registration assistance workers r. As with any business or agency that operates at this scale, there are always some people who want to get paid without really doing the job, or who aim to defraud their employer. Any large department store will have some workers who shoplift.

2. Any large voter registration operation will have a small percentage of workers who turn in bogus registration forms, Their goal clearly is not to cast a fraudulent vote. It is simply to defraud their employer, ACORN, by getting a paycheck without earning it. ACORN is the victim of this fraud - not the perpetrator.

3. In nearly every case that has been reported , it was ACORN that discovered the bad forms, and called them to the attention of election authorities, putting the forms in a package that identified them in writing as suspicious, encouraging election officials to investigate, and offering to help with prosecutions. We are required by law to turn in all forms, but instead of just turning them in and figuring that it is the responsibility of the board of elections to figure out which are valid, we spend millions of dollars verifying that forms are valid, and then separate out those that are suspicious.

4. This has nothing to do with "voter fraud" - nothing at all to do with anyone trying to cast an extra vote. There has never been a single reported instance in which bogus registration forms have led to anyone voting improperly. To do that, they would have to show up at the polls, prove their identity as all first-time registrants must, and risk jail. The people who turned in these forms did so not because they wanted an extra vote, but because they didn't care enough to make sure eligible people got to vote at all.

5. When a department store calls the police to report a shoplifting employee, no one says the department store is guilty of consumer fraud. But for some reason, when ACORN turns voter registration workers over to the authorities for filling out bogus forms, it gets accused of "voter fraud." This is a classic case of blaming the victim; indeed, these charges are outrageous, libelous, and often politically motivated.

6. Similar attacks were launched against ACORN and other voter registration organizations in 2004 and 2006. The bogus charges were at the heart of the U.S. Attorney-gate scandal that led to the resignations of Karl Rove, Attorney General Ablerto Gonzales and other top Justice Department Officials. It turned out that it was the charges that were fraudulent, and that they were part of a systematic partisan agenda of voter suppression. Republican US Attorneys David Iglesias (NM), Todd Graves (MO), and John McKay (WA) all were fired primarily because they refused to prosecute similar bogus charges of "voter fraud." Another US Attorney, Bradley Schlozman, who did politicize prosecutions against former ACORN canvassers, was forced to acknowledge under cross examination by the Senate Judiciary Committee that ACORN was the victim of fraud by its employees and ACORN had caught the employees and had identified them to law enforcement.

7. The goals of the people orchestrating these attacks are to distract ACORN from helping people vote and to justify massive voter suppression. That's the real voter fraud; the noise about a small fraction of the forms ACORN has turned in is meant to get the press and public take their eyes off the real threat, while those hurling the charges are stealing people's right to vote in broad daylight. They have already tried to prevent Ohio from registering voters at its early voting sites. In Michigan, they planned to use foreclosure notices to challenge thousands of voters. And if this year is like past years, they are preparing to use this so-called voter fraud to justify massive challenges to voters in minority precincts on Election Day.

The Details:

Fact: ACORN has implemented the most sophisticated quality-control system in the voter engagement field but in almost every state we are required to turn in ALL completed applications, even the ones we know to be problematic.

Fact: ACORN flags in writing incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when we turn them in,. Unfortunately, some of these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards. In many cases, we can actually prove that these are the same cards we called to their attention.

Fact: Our canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card . ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the cases where our internal quality controls have identified this happening we have fired the workers involved and turned them in to election officials and law-enforcement.

Fact: No criminal charges related to voter registration have ever been brought against ACORN or partner organizations. Convictions against individual former ACORN workers have been accomplished with our full cooperation, using the evidence obtained through our quality control and verification processes - evidence which in most cases WE called to the attention of authorities

Fact: Most election officials have recognized ACORN's good work and praised our quality control systems. Even in the cities where election officials have complained about ACORN, the applications in question represent less than 1% of the thousands and thousands of registrations ACORN has collected.

Fact: Our accusers not only fail to provide any evidence, they fail to suggest a motive: there is virtually no chance anyone would be able to vote fraudulently, so there is no reason to deliberately submit phony registrations. ACORN is committed to ensuring that the greatest possible numbers of people are registered

ACORN will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves.


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Palin/McCain A Week Of Hate

'Barack Osama' Printed on Hundreds of NY Absentee Ballots 10 Oct 2008 Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's last name was spelled "Osama" on three hundred absentee ballots mailed out this week in Rensselaer County, New York. The sensitive misspelling comes at a time when the McCain-Palin campaign has intensified attacks on Obama's character... When John McCain asked a crowd in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" someone in the crowd yelled "A terrorist."

Barack 'Osama' on Rensselaer County ballots 10 Oct 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's last name is spelled "Osama" on hundreds of absentee ballots mailed out this week to voters in Rensselaer County, NY. Officials say the flawed ballots were sent to approximately 300 voters. On row 1A Barack Obama's name is spelled Barack Osama... One pol pointed out that the letters 's' and 'b' are not exactly keyboard neighbors.

"Keep The N*gger Out Of Office" --Cops: Man threatened voter officials over tardy registration card 08 Oct 2008 Angered by a delay in the receipt of his voter registration card, a Louisiana man today threatened election officials, claiming that he urgently needed to cast a ballot to "keep the n*gger out of office," according to police. Wade Williams was arrested this morning on a felony terrorizing charge after allegedly calling the Registrar of Voters and warning that he would come to the state office and empty his shotgun unless he got his registration card.

Obama Called "Traitor" Again At McCain Rally 10 Oct 2008 John McCain's rally on Friday once again inspired furious reactions from his supporters [plants], with one woman screaming "traitor!" as McCain criticized Barack Obama's tax record. "He promised higher taxes on electricity," McCain charged at the event in La Crosse, Wisconsin... At that point, the woman yelled "traitor," and both McCain and his wife Cindy appeared to look in her direction. The Arizona Senator continued with his stump speech without referencing her.

Anti-Obama Fury Spills Over Into Down-Ticket Contests: "Bomb Obama" By Greg Sargent 10 Oct 2008 The fury and loathing of Obama being whipped up largely by McCain-Palin-GOP rhetoric about the Illinois Senator is now spilling into down-ticket races, specifically the battle between GOP incumbent Saxby Chambliss and his Dem challenger: Thursday's debate took place in front of a highly partisan crowd in the GOP stronghold of Middle Georgia. Chambliss supporters waved "Saxby" signs and offered up a sustained "boos" when [Jim] Martin mentioned Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. "Bomb Obama," one woman hollered.

US Secret Service probes death threats against Obama --Investigation dropped 09 Oct 2008 The US Secret Service has investigated an alleged death threat against Democrat Barack Obama shouted Monday at a rally for his Republican rival John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin, an agency spokesman told AFP Thursday. The probe by the Secret Service stems from a report by The Washington Post about a shout, "kill him," heard during the [Nazi] rally when Obama's name came up... Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said it wasn't clear whether the threat was actually vocalized or, if so, if it was meant for Obama during Palin's speech... For those reasons, he said, the investigation was dropped

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Palin Report Leaked

The New York Times Has First Scoop On Friday's Official Alaska State Legislature TrooperGate Report, And It Clearly Shows Abuse of Powers by Sarah and Todd Palin

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

GOP cuts out the middle man, goes straight to Fox News

As the Brad Blog notes, the RNC issued a campaign press release on Wednesday that consisted entirely of a Fox News transcript.

Does that mean, Faux News has to file with the FEC, as a campaign committee?

Ron Mills's Facebook profile

McCain's judgment "in a time of crisis"

The Obama campaign is going up with a new ad that questions McCain's judgment "in a time of crisis" by hitting the mortgage refinancing plan that McCain sprung during Tuesday night's debate:

Palin/McCain Rally a Terrorist Cell

Obama as "terrorist"

Way back in February, Karl Rove heard a growing number of Republicans blasting "Barack Hussein Obama," and warned his fellow Republicans to drop the line. Rove argued it would only perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted, which in turn would hurt the party.

That same week, at an event in Ohio, McCain was introduced by some conservative loud-mouth named Bill Cunningham, who blasted "Barack Hussein Obama." McCain, who was not on stage during Cunningham's harangue, later expressed said he wanted to "disassociate" himself from the remarks. McCain added that he would take responsibility to ensure that similar comments are not repeated at future campaign events.

That was February. This is October:

For the second time in three days, the speaker at a McCain campaign rally used Barack Obama's middle name "Hussein" in a demeaning fashion to ignite the crowd.

Speaking in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Bill Platt, the GOP chair of Lehigh County, twice referred to "Barack Hussein Obama" minutes before John McCain and Sarah Palin were set to take the stage.

On Monday, a local Florida sheriff preceded Palin's speech by declaring: "On Nov. 4, let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened."

To be fair, a campaign aide later conceded that this was "inappropriate rhetoric." But the trend nevertheless seems to point in one direction: whipping the angry, far-right Republican base into a frenzy. That includes the increasing frequency of "Hussein" references, but it also includes looking the other way while campaign supporters exclaim "treason!," "terrorist!," and "kill him!" during official rallies.

Josh Marshall, not exactly one for off-the-wall theories, argued the McCain campaign may very well be doing this deliberately: "It is obviously with tacit approval (to believe anything else is to be a dupe at this point); and quite probably on the campaign's specific instructions. Given the regularity of the cries of 'treason' and 'terrorist' and the like, and the frequency with which the screamers seem in oddly convenient proximity to the mics, we should probably be considering the possibly that these folks are campaign plants. It happens all the time. It's just that usually they don't scream out accusations of capital crimes."

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Debate Wrap-Up

The first problem with this debate was calling it a debate. The second was calling it a "town hall." In the strange, stilted ritual atop the red carpet at Nashville's Belmont University, the studio audience looked less like an inquisitive cross-section of the American public than it did a cast of apolitical drones programmed to deliver canned questions in exchange for canned lines. This was mostly thanks to the rules. The two candidates were literally, according to guidelines agreed upon by the two campaigns, prohibited from addressing each other directly. The result was an hour and a half of parallel speechifying in which disagreements were expressed in terse, passive-aggressive sideswipes by two men who, as McCain might say, clearly "don't like each other very much." In such a format, meaningful discussion -- or even entertaining television -- is fairly impossible.

There was nothing particularly surprising about the content -- or the questions, for that matter, which did nothing but open the door for the candidates to fall back on stump speech material and well-worn pledges; i.e., who is more loyal to Israel, who will capture or kill bin Laden, etc.

There were a few eyebrow-raising moments. One was when McCain proposed, "Let's put health records online" -- a cunning way to offset his own lack of Internet savvy, perhaps, but a comment that no small number of critics will respond to by saying, "Let's start with yours."

More significantly, at a time when Sarah Palin is denouncing Obama's penchant for "palling around" with unrepentant terrorists and McCain TV ads are asking, ominously, "Who IS Barack Obama?" McCain indulged in some pretty blatant fearmongering to discuss, of all things, Obama's economic plan. McCain's line about how "nailing down Senator Obama's various tax proposals is like nailing Jell-O to the wall" may have been too colorful to strike fear in Americans' hearts, but when he referred to "Senator Obama's secret that you don't know" to say he will raise taxes, it was pretty clear he's talking about more than money.

It was also surprising to see McCain appeal to the ignorance of the American people, first, condescendingly telling an African-American man who asked a question about the bailout, "I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) before this crisis," and later, in his closing statement, predicting, confusingly, that "we will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know where they are on the map."

Obama's hawkishness was, as it was in the first debate, alarming. But it was not surprising. Discussing Pakistan, Obama said, "the War on Terorrism began in that region, and that's where it will end" -- a reminder that he plans to perpetuate a foreign policy based on pre-emptive war. "Part of the job of the next commander-in-chief, in keeping all of you safe," he said, "is making sure that we can see some of the 21st Century challenges and anticipate them before they happen."

But there was a redeeming moment on the topic of health care. Asked whether they considered it "a privilege, a right or a responsibility," McCain answered "responsibility," and then peevishly called on Obama to reveal how much he would "fine" people who "don't get the health care policy that (he thinks) you should have." Obama, who has often invoked the notion of "personal responsibility" on the campaign trail to underscore his conservatism, replied deliberately. "In a country as wealthy as ours," he said, people should not have to go bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills. "I think it should be a right for every American."

Don Hazen: McCain and Obama -- Deja Vu All Over Again

It was deja vu all over again at the Tennessee presidential debate, or perhaps instant reruns after only the first show. The evening was replete with Tom Brokaw as the annoying moderator, inarticulate questions from the audience and the Internet, and the two guys doing the same, same dance, but this time walking around with microphones rather than standing behind a lectern. The candidates repeated verbatim many of the same things they said a week ago. Last night was supposed to have a more lively town meeting format, but instead the affair was rather sedate, leaning toward boring. How many people are going to come back to watch Debate III, with the reruns already playing.

Conventional wisdom is, of course, that McCain is increasingly behind in the race, especially because fear grips the land as economic crisis goes global, and millions are looking at 25 percent or more erased in their retirement funds, jobs disappearing fast, housing values plunging and no light at the end of the tunnel. So McCain had to do something different and dramatic to rejigger the race. But he didn't, or couldn't. He flailed, he swung wildly, but the best he could do was repeat his old lines from the first debate as if he didn't know how to say anything differently -- about how Obama is going to increase taxes, when people now seem to get that the Obama plan will reduce taxes for 95 percent of the population; about how McCain will bring us victory with honor in Iraq, when Iraq has fallen off the radar screen for most voters.

McCain seemed even more the old guy to Obama's "change" message than he did in the first debate. He referred to needing hair transplants, all his years of experience in the Senate, and fond memories of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill finding bipartisan nirvana decades ago. Doesn't he get it that the more he talks about the past, the less he is seen as the man for the future? He tried to pin "earmarks," a multimillion-dollar projector, the demise of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lack of support for offshore drilling, nuclear reactors, clean coal -- all of this on Obama; but none of it stuck, because Obama had a more believable retort for each accusation. Unfortunately, Obama does support these things: the impossible notion of clean coal, the 10-year, $10 billion disastrous process to build nuclear power, and sadly, offshore drilling, although as Obama subtly points out, drilling is an absurd position on its face, because the United States has 3 percent of the world's oil reserve and consumes 25 percent of the oil supply every year.

One of the only fresh moments of the debate was at the onset, when Obama attacked the executives of the bailed-out AIG for having a bountiful and pricey spa weekend after the company went down the tubes. A momentarily aggressive Obama insisted that the money be paid back and the executives fired. But for the rest of the evening, Obama did exactly what he had to do -- be smooth, calm and presidential, counterpunch effectively and leave very little room between him and McCain on most issues. Obama sounded frequently like a military warrior as he laid out the bellicose terms of relationships with Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Georgia, but still always differentiating himself just enough from McCain -- it is Obama who would talk to our "so-called" enemies and be a global diplomat, while McCain persisted in remaining old school and out of touch.

In a couple of key moments, Obama insisted health care was a right, while McCain thought it a responsibility -- points to Obama. McCain tried hard to tar Obama with health "mandates," while Obama parried him easily, as if the voters cared about labels -- they want better and less expensive health care. Obama will bring it to them, while McCain, with tax credits and new taxes on benefits, will "give with one hand and take back with the other." Thinking about the 90 minutes, and of course my biases, it was really difficult to find a single topic where McCain scored any significant points. So while the contest was no knockout, in the scoring culture of the boxing world, this was a clear-cut, unanimous decision, with only the out-of-touch Pat Buchanan still trying to pretend that McCain was the victor.

According to the quickie polls, McCain actually lost ground in the debate, getting hammered by 20 points as to who won and who would best solve the economic crisis, while on CNN, Obama actually picked up a small number of changed minds. McCain gained none. If my personal experience of him was a fair assessment, McCain came across as a somewhat nasty phony. I counted him referring to the audience as his friends at least 15 times, which seemed as contrived as it was repetitive.

Obama was not above repeating many of his previous lines either, including reminding the audience about McCain's performance of "Bomb Bomb, Iran" to the tune of "Barbara Ann." Yet, it seems bizarre that McCain tried to paint Obama has a zealot in his talk of pursuit of Osama bin Laden, as if that would lose him voters. ( In a point of personal privilege, numerous commentators talked about "Barbara Ann" as the Beach Boys song, but it was written by Fred Fassert and sung first by The Regents in 1961, and it only hit No. 13 on the charts, surprising given its longevity. This song credit situation reminds me of how Joni Mitchell, the creator and first performer of "Chelsea Morning," was constantly screwed because the Clintons, who named their daughter after the song, could only remember the Judy Collins version.)

Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post:

In Debate II, John McCain twice laid out the criteria for how the American people should judge the candidates: In tough times, we need someone with a steady hand on the tiller.

By that measure, Obama was the clear winner. He was centered where McCain was scattered. Forceful where McCain was forced. Presidential where McCain was petulant.

In the first debate, McCain wouldn't look at Obama. In this one, he referred to him as "that one." The contempt was palpable and unpalatable.

In the run-up to the debate, McCain lowered himself into the sewer in a desperate attempt to portray Obama as dangerous, untrustworthy, a risk too big to take.

But Obama's measured reasonableness totally countered that caricature. You could fault Obama for not being particularly inspiring, but you could not miss the rock-steady competence he exuded -- authoritatively delivering substantive answers to questions on the economy, health care, taxes and foreign policy.

He scored with his history lesson, reminding voters of the economy the Republicans inherited and how they squandered that inheritance.

He scored with his reminder of how much the war in Iraq is costing America and the enormous strain that puts on our economy -- as well as our national security.

He scored when he declared that affordable health care is a "right" of every American and not, as McCain put it, a "responsibility" of … he actually didn't specify who.

And Obama scored big when he gave voice to the vast gulf between the two candidates' -- and the two parties' -- positions on the role of government in our lives, invoking JFK's commitment to put a man on the moon in 10 years as an example of what can be done in fueling a new alternative energy-based economy, and pointing out how government investment played a key role in developing the tech advances that have driven our economy for the last two decades.

McCain, like Palin last week, couldn't decide if government is the enemy or the deep-pocketed benefactor that is going to buy up all the bad mortgages in America.

Is "a government-bought house on every lot" the 21st century equivalent of "a chicken in every pot"?

McCain also provided the debate's strangest moments, twice chiding Obama for backing an "overhead projector" in a planetarium, and raising the idea of "gold-plated Cadillac" insurance policies that pay for hair transplants. Huh?

McCain also told us he knows how to fix the economy, knows how to win wars and knows how to capture bin Laden. Is there a reason he's keeping all these a secret?

The debate ended on a question Tom Brokaw described as having "a certain Zen-like quality:" "What don't you know and how will you learn it?"

Both men used the opportunity to pivot from the Moment of Zen into impassioned but familiar stump speech stories about single moms (Obama) and absent fathers (McCain), about the American Dream (Obama) and the country put first (McCain), about the need for fundamental change (Obama) and the desire for another opportunity to serve (McCain).

At the end of the debate, Brokaw asked McCain to get out of the way of his Teleprompter, so he could sign off.

Brokaw might as well have been speaking on behalf of the future: Senator McCain, can you please get out of the way so we can get on with it?

Andrew Sullivan from

This was, I think, a mauling: a devastating and possibly electorally fatal debate for McCain. Even on Russia, he sounded a little out of it. I've watched a lot of debates and participated in many. I love debate and was trained as a boy in the British system to be a debater. I debated dozens of times at Oxford. All I can say is that, simply on terms of substance, clarity, empathy, style and authority, this has not just been an Obama victory. It has been a wipeout. It has been about as big a wipeout as I can remember in a presidential debate. It reminds me of the 1992 Clinton-Perot-Bush debate. I don't really see how the McCain campaign survives this.

Jill Tubman from Jack and Jill Politics: Debate '08 -- Obama Wins Again

Obama wins hands down according to NBC, FOX, CNN, CBS and so on. Though my mama wasn't impressed -- they just say the same things over and over, she says. As for me, I found it strange that no questions about immigration or women's rights (such as equal pay, abortion, child care, the morning-after pill, etc.) have been mentioned in the past few debates. Is this due to some kind of agreement between the campaigns? Has immigration really slipped in our national priorities? Hispanic voters are critical so it seems curious.

McCain was wheezing and struggling to maintain coherency during the debate. Must not have gotten his nap and applesauce in the afternoon. He also managed to be disdainful and disrespectful to Obama, calling him "that one," which raises my hackles and sounded a little too near "boy" for my taste. I'm also told that McCain was reluctant to shake Obama's hand after the debate, but CNN weirdly blocked the view at that moment, choosing to focus on Brokaw, so I didn't see that. Here's the "That One" clip:

Obama managed to get in a few zingers this time and came out strong and swinging. He's usually all Mahalo, Aloha, One Love, so it was clear that McCain wasn't expecting a strong offense and defense from Obama. I liked his answers on Darfur and Pakistan (he pronounced it correctly, which obviously means he's a terrorist!), and I agree with Obama that health care is a right. Health care has become a human rights issue in America -- John McCain doesn't get that. I really loved Obama's closing remarks -- John McCain had no real comeback on personal experience with food stamps. Here's that clip with Barack keepin' it real:

Joshua Holland:

Snap polls -- entirely unscientific and utterly meaningless -- gave Obama the edge tonight, 39-27. But I'd say it was a tie. Both candidates again managed to avoid any real specificity, and both worked hard to maintain some of the key illusions that are central to America's political culture.

There was no debate about the fact that American foreign policy has been a source of unbridled good in the world; both candidates agreed that we're surrounded by violent evil-doers, including Venezuela and, interestingly, Nigeria. There was concurrence that Iran, which hasn't invaded any country for more than a century, is a vital threat to Israel, an advanced nuclear power that we have to defend at all costs.

It was noteworthy that both candidates agreed that Russian "aggression" in Georgia was completely incongruous with international norms. The hypocrisy, given our actions from Vietnam to Grenada to Iraq, was stunning.

These debates are becoming increasingly banal. In a sense, they're a microcosm of our larger political discourse, with complex issues of great import reduced to meaningless rhetoric and a media -- personified by moderator Tom Brokaw, who appeared more concerned with enforcing the rules of the debate than probing the issues in any substantive way -- that refuse to call out the candidates when their talking points diverge from reality.

Consider a few statements for which most viewers no doubt lacked the context to judge, but which a political journalist with a critical approach might have pointed out.

McCain called for an across-the-board federal spending freeze, except for military spending and veterans' affairs (natch). But less than 40 percent of the federal budget is discretionary spending -- spending that could reasonably be "frozen" -- and the bulk of that, much more than half, is for defense and veterans' affairs. It's gibberish, but how many viewers knew it?

Or the idea that drilling offshore could conceivably wean the country off foreign oil -- or even begin to do so. The United States, which ranks 11th in the world in proven reserves -- offshore and ANWAR included -- uses a quarter of the world's oil, and that oil is purchased on a global market. If we were to give more leases to Chevron or Exxon/Mobile, they would turn around and sell them on that same global market.

Obama agreed with the premise that we have to "fix" Social Security, a solution in search of a problem. The myth of a Social Security "crisis" has been well and thoroughly debunked -- but it formed the basis of one of Brokaw's questions (I almost threw something at the TV when Brokaw said that "everyone agreed" on the need for "reform").

When it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, there are real problems of sustainability. But that's something that can only be fixed by revamping America's dysfunctional health care system. The best question of the night, in my view, was whether the candidates viewed health care as a commodity. It's a serious and important question, and one that both men predictably tap-danced around and didn't ultimately touch.

Things are bad in this country, and we deserve a lot better discussion than we've gotten during this campaign (even though I'd concede that it's more substantive than those of recent memory). If I had to choose a winner, I'd say it was Obama on appearances -- McCain seemed fidgety and old, while Obama came off as smooth and authoritative.

But in the final analysis, it's the American public that loses every time matters of great import are reduced to tried-and-true stump-speech zingers.

David Sirota from Open Left:

It's stunning how uncomfortable and uninformed John McCain is when it comes to economic issues. I know it's not his forte, but he's been in the Congress for a quarter century, and was the chairman of the Commerce Committee, so he should have at least a basic command over these issues. He doesn't.

Barack Obama may be the most likeable politician in modern American history. I've always thought that to be the case, from the time I spent a day with him two years ago all the way through the Democratic primary to now. I disagree with him on some issues, and he has really disappointed me at times. But the guy is a terrific communicator, clearly empathetic in a genuine way (as opposed to an annoying Bill Clinton lip-biting way), and he doesn't talk down to people; it makes him a really likeable person. That seemed to especially shine through, as evidenced by CBS News' poll showing a 20-point jump for him on the question of whether he "understands voters' needs and problems."

Isaac Fitzgerald:

I do not trust a person who tries to endear themselves to me before making their intentions clear. On the street, or in a bar, whenever someone I don't know calls me "friend," I figure that person is trying to pull a fast one on me.

John McCain must have said "my friends" a dozen times.

McCain didn't come off as a statesman in Nashville; he came off as a con artist, and not a very convincing one at that. He was shifty, unable to sit still and often wandered around the stage while Obama was speaking. When McCain spoke he was uneven and frequently repeated himself. In a debate setting that was supposed to be McCain's home turf, the town hall, McCain seemed nervous.

And rightfully so, where McCain seemed uneasy, Obama seemed relaxed and comfortable -- one might even go so far as to use the word presidential. Obama's answers were to the point, often focusing on the struggles of working class families. His quips were on target too; when he made a jab at his opponent, or a joke with the audience, his words were well received. McCain's jokes, on the other hand, even when reaching out to his friend Tom Brokaw, fell flat. Much more importantly, McCain made zero mentions of the middle class, just like the first debate. Forgetting to mention the backbone of this country once is a mistake; twice is unforgivable.

When it comes right down to it, debates are all about the portrait each candidate paints of themselves to present to the public. For Obama last night, that picture was an excellent one: a person you could trust. For McCain, it was of someone who dearly wanted to be your friend, but couldn't really explain why.

Ian Welsh from Obama coolly dispatches punch drunk McCain

So, ok, clearly Obama won again. We don't even need to see the polls to know that. He comes across as president already, while John McCain comes across as an angry doddering old man.

Here's what I don't understand. Essentially McCain made the same sort of mistakes he made last time. Not friendly enough, not calm, awful body language and so on. Not a statesman. Not a reassuring elder who's seen it all and who can be trusted to deal with it now.

I don't believe that his handlers don't know this. I don't believe they didn't know this after the first debate. It was dead clear. So, does John McCain not know this? Are they not able to tell it to him? Does he not listen? Why do they not have someone coaching him? Ditch some campaign appearances and spend hours working on his body language, his voice tone and give him answers that are statesmanlike.

Or is John "Maverick" McCain too angry to listen? Too frazzled, too tired, too unable to make a change from a game plan that clearly isn't working. Is it the campaign? Or is it him?

Either way, it's actually kind of sad. What I see in John McCain is an old tired man whose anger doesn't just come from being behind but from having worked beyond capacity for too long. He doesn't have Obama's stamina, nor does he have the sense Obama had in taking a week's holiday to recharge. The best thing that the McCain campaign could do now is to come up with some reason to give him the better part of 3 days off. Let Palin campaign for him, she pretty much does anyway. Let him recover.

I doubt it would matter to the end result, but at least we might not be treated to Obama coolly dismantling what amounts to a punch-drunk McCain who can neither think nor speak straight.

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Days Since Michael Steele Said He Won't Resign

23 Days, 23 Hours, 32 Minutes, 38 Seconds.

"The Playa" said he wouldn't resign as head of the RNC ("Not me Baby! Nuh-uh. Not happening. No way, no how.")



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