30 August 2008

Rasmussen: Palin makes good first impression; viewed more favorably than Biden

Sarah Palin has made a good first impression. Before being named as John McCain’s running mate, 67% of voters didn’t know enough about the Alaska governor to have an opinion. After her debut in Dayton and a rush of media coverage, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 53% now have a favorable opinion of Palin while just 26% offer a less flattering assessment.

Palin earns positive reviews from 78% of Republicans, 26% of Democrats and 63% of unaffiliated voters. Obviously, these numbers will be subject to change as voters learn more about her in the coming weeks. Among all voters, 29% have a Very Favorable opinion of Palin while 9% hold a Very Unfavorable view.

By way of comparison, on the day he was selected as Barack Obama’s running mate, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden was viewed favorably by 43% of voters.

McCain Official: There Goes Our “Experience” Argument

After selecting Palin, a top campaign official tells Politico:

“I think we’re going to have to examine our tag line, ‘dangerously inexperienced.’”

Obama launches ad attacking McCain VP pick

Washington Post: Romney, Pawlenty 'feel manipulated' by McCain

Though it was high in shock value, the Palin pick left bruised feelings among the short-list contenders who were not picked -- and infuriated some Republican officials who privately said McCain had gone out on a limb, unnecessarily, without laying the groundwork for such an unknown. Two senior Republican officials close to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty said they had both been rudely strung along and now "feel manipulated."

"They now know that they were used as decoys, well after McCain had decided not to pick them," one Republican involved in the process said.

McCain camp takes $3m in just 6 hours following Palin pick

Mark Halperin is reporting that the McCain camp claims $3 million poured in by 6 pm ET after Palin pick. That is a huge haul for the McCain campaign which has suffered from sluggish fund raising.

Although the pundits remain mixed and somewhat perplexed over the pick, supporters appear willing to open their cheque books to get the McCain/Palin ticket elected.

Palin's husband, son are not Republican party members

The Politico is reporting that the family of Republican VP pick, Sarah Palin, might not be quiet as enthusiastic about the party as some might imagine.

Her husband has not been a Republican Party member since 1989, and her son, Track Palin, is registered as 'undeclared.'

29 August 2008

Opinion: Smashing the glass ceiling or running into a brick wall?

In selecting Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has changed the whole dynamic of the 2008 election. It’s easy to imagine the Obama team squirming with discomfort at the choice of a woman running against them, especially one who has already shown she is happy to use Hillary Clinton’s attempt to smash the ‘glass ceiling’ of male dominated American politics as a weapon with which to bash Obama. Clearly Governor Palin was chosen as a direct response to Clinton not being on the ticket, a savvy move by the increasingly organised McCain campaign.

The biggest surprise is not that Palin was chosen, but why she wasn’t being talked about earlier. A pro-life, card-carrying member of the NRA whose son is about to serve in Iraq, she enjoys a near 80% approval rating in Alaska. Furthermore, simply by being a woman she has a chance to steal a significant minority of Clinton support, though her opposition to abortion rights may be a problem for many pro-choice Clinton followers. She is a potential antidote to what may seem like a rather dull Republican convention in Minnesota after all the excitement in Denver. Expect to hear the phrases ‘Hockey mom’ and ‘Washington outsider’ a lot, as The McCain-Palin ticket tries to portray itself as a Maverick brand of experience and change, on a mission to shake up Washington. However despite all the positives of Palin she could also damage the Republican campaign. Not only could her Conservative track-record scare off some independents looking for bi-partisanship, but her thin resume could also cause a problem. As well as leaving a relatively inexperienced candidate a breath away from the Presidency, it also causes issues with McCain attacking Obama on experience. As well as these issues she is also under-investigation in an ethics probe for dismissing a top law enforcement official seemingly because he failed to sack a state trooper who had divorced her sister. Expect this issue to be exploited in an attempt to damage Palin’s reputation as maverick who fights corruption.

The Gallup Daily Tracking poll showed Obama eight points up nationally 49% to 41% yesterday. Although this was partly due to the bump from his choice of VP and the media attention from the Democratic convention it showed perhaps McCain needed to do something to grab the spotlight. There is no doubt this was it. What remains to be seen is whether Palin can successfully portray herself as an icon on the level of Hillary Clinton and give McCain a foothold in what is essentially a change election, or whether she becomes a liability whose appointment as running mate seems increasingly like a political ploy.

By Chris Tarquini

U.S. to make election history one way or another

ome January 20, 2009, history will be made in the United States: Either the first black president will be sworn into office or the first female vice president will take the oath.

Since the inauguration of the first president, George Washington, in 1789, only white men have held the top two government positions in Washington.

McCain, Palin families give first joint interview to People magazine

On appealing to Hillary Clinton supporters:

“Certainly in this election cycle, women are not finished yet. And women can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all,” says Gov. Palin.

Sen. McCain: “I think that Sarah appeals to a lot of voters—I think because of her independence, because of her reform agenda and her record of balancing both family and service, is motivation to not just Clinton voters but to lots of voters.”

On what some are calling Gov. Palin’s “short” resume, relative youth and readiness to be president, compared with Sen. Barack Obama:

“I don’t think it’s a short resume. She first ran for office back in 1992. I don’t know what Senator Obama was doing then, but the first time she ran was 1992. That’s 16 years. I think that’s a pretty, pretty event-filled and record-filled resume.”

Interjects Gov. Palin: “I haven’t had too many years other than that to fill up yet.”

So does she feel ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

“Absolutely. Yup, yup. Especially with a good team around us.”

On whether she’ll be able to balance the vice-presidency with her family’s needs:

“She’s heard that her whole life—the challenges of being a female mother in the work force,” says the governor’s husband, Todd Palin. “I remember the first time she ran for mayor on of her fellow council members told her you can’t run for mayor because you’ve got three negatives: Track, Bristol and Willow. Those are the three kids we had at the time. So, when you tell her that kind of stuff, she just gets fired up. We’re an Alaska family that adapts.”

Gov. Palin, who is still nursing her son, tells PEOPLE she’s used to multi-tasking:

“What I’ve had to do, though, is in the middle of the night, put down the Blackberries and pick up the breast pump. Do a couple of things different and still get it all done.”

Adds Sen. McCain’s wife, Cindy: “Any woman who’s been in a situation where they’re working and have children know that you give 300 percent; no one will be slighted in any of this, least of all her baby. She has a lot of energy, she’s a woman with great drive and great vision and I think no one’s going to suffer in this process. We will all get it done.”

As reported by Time Magazine

Republicans consider delaying convention as hurricane approaches

The Republican Party is rumoured to be considering delaying the first day of their national convention as Hurricane Gustav threatens the Gulf coast.

The storm, which is lingering off the Gulf coast, comes at an awkward time for a Republican Party desperate to avoid reminding voters of the ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina - which hit New Orleans three years ago today.

The delay would hit the first night address of President George W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton reacts to Palin VP pick

Sen. Hillary Clinton released a statement this evening commenting on Sen. John McCain's selection of Alaskan Governor. Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential candidate:

“We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin’s historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”

Earlier, Palin had lauded Clintons contribution to paving the way for her nomination as the first female on a Republican ticket.

Politico: "one of the most shocking vice-presidential selections in political history"

Over at Politico they are breaking out the hyperbole in this little piece.

"In selecting Palin, McCain counters the historic nature of Barack Obama’s candidacy. She’s young —three years younger than Obama — and she’s a woman, the first to land a spot on a major-party ticket since Walter Mondale picked Ferraro 24 years ago.

Disheartened Clinton supporters who were thinking about crossing over to vote for McCain may now have one more reason to do so.:

38 million watch Barack Obama convention speech

38 million watch Obama at Invesco Field Friday– making it the most-watched convention night in history.

The total beat the Olympics opening ceremony, Academy Awards, or American Idol finale this year.

Gallup: Obama stretches lead to 8pts

It will be interesting to see how these numbers change following the media saturation that McCain's VP pick is receiving and the GOP convention next week.

My prediction is that the post-Democratic convention bounce will be short lived.

New York Times: Palin under ethics investigation

An issue for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that is already drawing attention in the opening moments of her debut as the Republican vice presidential pick is an ongoing state ethics probe that was launched just a few weeks ago.

An independent investigator appointed by a panel of state legislators earlier this month is looking into whether Mrs. Palin dismissed a top law enforcement official in her administration because he failed to fire a state trooper, Mike Wooten, who went through a messy divorce with Mrs. Palin’s sister.

The investigation follows on the heels of Mrs. Palin’s abrupt decision in mid-July to dismiss Walt Monegan, her Public Safety Commissioner. Mrs. Palin said she wanted to take the department in a different direction, but questions emerged after Mr. Monegan said he felt pressured to fire Mr. Wooten.

As part of efforts to demonstrate she welcomed the inquiry, Mrs. Palin asked the state’s attorney general to look into the allegations as well.

Video: Gov. Sarah Palin in Ohio

Key quotes from McCain/Palin rally


Praises Palin’s “fighting spirit and deep compassion.”

“She’s got the grit, integrity, good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today.”

“She’s exactly who I need, she’s exactly who this country needs….”


“I would be honored to serve next to the next president of the United States.”

“I know it will demand the best that I have to give, and I promise nothing less.”

She also paid tribute to 1984 VP pick Geraldine Ferraro and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Palin highlights family, bipartisanship

Newly selected VP pick, Gov. Sarah Palin is currently appearing at a rally in Dayton, OH, where she is highlighting her modest family background and her corruption busting politics in Alaska.

Live feed:

McCain, Palin rally in Ohio

McCain, Palin appearing together in Ohio

Obama campaign responds to Palin pick

"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

Who is Sarah Palin?

In just two short years, Sarah Palin moved from suburban hockey mom and small-town mayor to vice presidential contender. The 44-year-old Republican, Alaska's first female governor, arrived at the Capitol in 2006 on an ethics reform platform after defeating two former governors in the primary and general elections.

On Friday she was ready to leap to the national stage as GOP presidential candidate John McCain's surprise choice for running mate, according to two senior campaign officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement was pending. She already has a national reputation for bucking her party's establishment and Alaska's powerful oil industry back home.

With ethics the centerpiece of her campaign, Palin defeated incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski, who served 22 years in the U.S. Senate before winning the governor's seat in 2002. Her task didn't seem any easier in the general election, but she handily beat Tony Knowles, a popular Democrat who already served two terms as governor.

During her first year in office, Palin distanced herself from the powerful old guard of the state Republican Party, even calling on Sen. Ted Stevens to explain to Alaskans why federal authorities were investigating him. Since then, their relationship has warmed, and they have appeared together at several events. Stevens even said lawmakers should follow Palin's lead in her efforts to get a natural gas pipeline built.

Stevens is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 22 in Washington, D.C., on charges he failed to disclose more than $250,000 in home renovations and gifts from executives at oil services contractor VECO Corp. He won the GOP primary on Tuesday with more than 60 percent of the vote. He's pleaded not guilty.

Palin also asked Alaska's congressional delegation to be more selective in seeking earmarks after what came to be known as the "Bridge to Nowhere" turned into a national embarrassment and a symbol of piggish pork-barrel spending.
She also successfully took on the oil industry, leading to a tax increase on oil company profits that now has the state's treasury swelling.

Typically seen walking the Capitol halls in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberry screens in each hand, Palin made a recent appearance in Vogue, the fashion magazine.

And she oversees a state that's hardly shy about admiring her swept-back hair and celebrated smile. Bumper stickers and blogs have proclaimed Alaska and Palin: "Coldest State, Hottest Governor."

Palin describes herself as a "hockey mom" and an occasional commercial fisherwoman. She lives in Wasilla, a town of 6,500 about 30 miles north of Anchorage, with her husband, Todd, a blue-collar North Slope oil worker who competes in the Iron Dog, a 1,900-mile snowmobile race. He is part Yup'ik Eskimo.

Her previous political experience consisted of terms as Wasilla's mayor and councilwoman and a stint as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Palin's troubles with the GOP began when Murkowski named her chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. There, Palin exposed current Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich, who was also an AOGCC commissioner, for ethical violations.

In 2005, Palin co-filed an ethics complaint against Murkowski's longtime aide and then attorney general, Gregg Renkes, for having a financial interest in a company that stood to gain from an international trade deal he was helping craft.

The Palins have five children: Track, 19; Bristol 17; Willow 14; Piper, 7, and Trig, who was born in April with Down syndrome.
Track enlisted in the Army in 2007 on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and has been assigned to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks.

Palin was born Feb. 11, 1964, in Idaho, but her parents moved to Alaska shortly after her birth to teach. She received a bachelor of science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.

- AP

A truely startling choice

It's not very often that the political world is genuinely surprised. With such huge political operations, media organisations and advertising agencies leaks are virtually impossible to prevent.

It is true that Barack Obama kept a tight lid on his VP pick, but Joe Biden had been regarded as the front runner for weeks and the final announcement was made at 3am after CNN broke the story shortly after midnight on the morning of 23rd August.

But I think it is safe to say that the political world - from the blogosphere to the established order of Fox and CNN have been taken back by this announcement.

Much of the speculation up until the early hours (ET) of this morning remained focused around Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and even Joe Lieberman. A number of sources had even taken Gov. Palin's name out of consideration after it was 'revealed' she would not be present in Ohio today.

Rumours only began to surface after an eagle eyed airport worker reported that a middle aged woman had been whisked under the cover of darkness through an Ohio airport with her two teenage sons.

What remains to be seen is the reaction that the announcement will provoke.

Campaign 2008

Statement from Sen. John McCain

Senator John McCain today announced that he has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate and to serve as his vice president.

Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington.

Governor Palin has challenged the influence of the big oil companies while fighting for the development of new energy resources. She leads a state that matters to every one of us -- Alaska has significant energy resources and she has been a leader in the fight to make America energy independent.

In Alaska, Governor Palin challenged a corrupt system and passed a landmark ethics reform bill. She has actually used her veto and cut budgetary spending. She put a stop to the "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops.

Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of. Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.

This campaign just got even more historic

So we now have an African American and a woman on the the two major party tickets.

CNN: It's Palin!

CNN has now reported that Sen. John McCain has picked Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential pick!


McCain picks Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate!

Confusion reigns as McCain VP choice imminent

ABC News: Palin’s spokesperson says the Alaska Governor is going to the State Fair in Anchorage, Alaska Friday — and isn’t in Dayton, Ohio.

But: A Gulfstream IV arrived in Middletown, Ohio from Anchorage, Alaska Thursday night.
Middletown is right outside Dayton.

CNN: Someone who works at the airport says a woman and two children got off the plane and into white vans, calling it a very “secretive” flight. Palin has two teenaged sons among her five children.

NBC, FOX say Romney isn’t McCain’s veep choice. Mixed reports about whether he’ll be in Dayton with McCain.
Pawlenty tells Minneapolis radio he won’t be there. Says it’s “a fair assumption” he isn’t McCain’s No. 2.

Drudge also says “no Romney,” suggests Palin is the pending choice.

NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell: A source says some who aren’t selected might be in Dayton for a “GOP talent show,” along with the veep pick.

The next Vice President of the United States?

Name: Sarah Palin
Position: Governor of Alaska
Age: 44
Assumed office: December 2004

She is the first female governor of Alaska, its youngest, and is the first governor born after Alaska achieved statehood. Brought to statewide attention because of her whistleblowing on ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders, she won election in 2006 by first defeating the incumbent governor in the Republican primary, then a former Democratic Alaskan governor in the general election.

She has sky high approval ratings - In July 2007, Palin had an approval rating often in the 90s. A poll published by Hays Research on July 28, 2008 showed Palin's approval rating at 80%.

She is is strongly pro life and opposes gay marriage - so she wouldn't rile the Republican base.

She would also be a blatant grab for Hillary supporters.

Reports: Pawlenty, Romney out of VP running

MSNBC is reportingg that two of the front runners, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, will not be Sen. John McCain's running for the November presidential election.

So who does this leave? Joseph Lieberman?

I had been guessing that it would be Mitt Romney and I am not ruling this out just yet.

But I am now thinking McCain may be about to spring a surprise. I have long said that the way John McCain can win over many Hillary supporters (and thus the election) is to pick a woman.

Carly Fiorina? Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson?

The blogosphere is buzzing with rumours that Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska has been selected.

Not long to wait...

Happy Birthday, John McCain!

Sen. John McCain today celebrates his 72nd birthday and will be celebrating by holding a rally in Ohio with his newly picked Vice Presidential candidate.

The verdict is in

The reviews are in - and they are almost universally positive.

New York Times:

“Mr. Obama showed real fire, and directed memorable fire at his opponent, even on Mr. McCain’s signature issue, national security.”

“Time and again, Mr. Obama took the fight to Mr. McCain.”

“On Thursday night, the speechmaker showed, in words, that he was also a man of experience, and a man who wanted to give something back to the people who gave it to him.”

The Spectator:

“The speech as a text was not one of Obama’s best but it was delivered with the passion that he is often said to lack.”

“There then followed fireworks and a through milking of the applause of the adoring crowd which ran the risk of appearing too triumphaIist.”


“The Party got what it wanted from Obama speech”

“The Democratic nominee delivers the attack many thought had been lacking”

“What he gave here was a combination of old and new -- new toughness coupled with the message that got him to this point.”

BBC News:

“As a piece of political theatre, it was undeniably powerful.”

“But the speech itself, though filled with some powerful moments, did not always soar to the rhetorical heights for which the senator is known.”

“it seemed Mr Obama had decided to answer two lines of criticism: that there is little substance to his slogans and that he has not been effective in attacking John McCain.

…. at the expense of giving a speech that will be remembered as one of his finest.”

The New Republic:

“Just What the Doctor Ordered”

“Obama did exactly what he needed to do to set the stage for the fall campaign.”

“There was a very subtle interweaving of Obama’s past themes with the new theme of the American promise.”

“It was one of the most intellectually elegant speeches I’ve heard. Besides that, I expect that it will do Obama and the Democrats a lot of good in the weeks ahead.”


“A candidate known -- fairly or not - for his soaring rhetoric delivered a speech heavy on specific policy points, themes of broad values, and empathy for the daily challenges faced by many. “

“Obama brought down his candidacy down to ground level.”

“There was plenty in the speech for Republicans to pick apart at their convention in St. Paul next week, like how he will pay for the litany of proposals he laid out tonight. But they will be hard-pressed to match the intensity, the specificity and the effectiveness of Obama in Denver.”

Mark Halperin – The Page:

Mark Halperin gives Barack Obama an ‘A+’: “Obama appeared to achieve every goal the pundits and political backseat drivers had set out for him in advance: he showed his heart, emphasized the economy, and, most of all, looked like a president.”


“Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight wasn't what people have come to expect from a Barack Obama speech. It wasn't filled with lofty rhetoric or grand cadences. It did not induce tears or euphoria. It didn't have the forced, kitschy call and response tropes — "and that's the change we need!" — that defaced nearly every other major speech at this convention. At 43 minutes, nailing his dismount at 10:53 pm, it wasn't even very long. It was lean, efficient, practical and very very tough.”


Tensions building ahead of Obama speech

Tensions are building and expectations are rising for what is the biggest moment in Barack Obama's political career and a defining moment in US history. Crowds are building with just hours until Sen. Obama steps up to the podium at the Invesco stadium in Denver to accept the Democratic Party nomination for President and in doing so, becoming the first African American to represent a major US party.

Excuse the hyperbole, but I'm a little excited

Cindy McCain's Half Sister: "I'm Voting for Barack Obama"

It all started when Cindy McCain said she was an only child. Then her estranged half sister hit out saying how angry she was with Mrs. John McCain for denying her existence.

And now, Kathleen Hensley Portalski has said she won't be voting for her brother-in-law in the November election.

"I'm not voting for McCain," she tells Us. "I have a different political standpoint.

Portalski, 65, and the potential first lady, 54, have the same father: Jim Hensley, the founder of the beer distributor Hensley and Co. that Cindy McCain now chairs.

28 August 2008

Breaking: McCain Convention ad

It is very clever

Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America.

Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations.

How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.

I'm John McCain and I approved this message.

Post convention bounce or blip?

The latest gallup poll released today puts Barack Obama up by 6 points over Republican rival John McCain.

Is this just a typical post convention bounce taking shape? I would argue that these new numbers are the product of Clinton supporters moving over toward Obama and beginning to accept that he is the party nominee. Some 74% of Democrats now feel that the party is unified behind Sen. Obama.

It will be very interesting to see how Barack Obama's speech this evening, the most important of his relatively short political career is received and whether a McCain VP pick tomorrow will halt any momentum leaving Denver.

Report: Romney family gets security sweep ahead of VP pick

Reports are emerging that the Romney familiy homes are currently being security checked by secret services ahead of a potential VP announcement tomorrow.

This made me chuckle...

The Barackopolis

This is one of the first pictures of the stage being assembled for Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight. The address will be given in front of a crowd of 75,000 and a global audience of millions.

Republicans have already begun attacking the event - mocking that the stage is an “emperor-like” backdrop. VP hopefull, Governor Tim Pawlenty quipped that “as with the facade, there’s not much behind it.”

AP: McCain says no VP pick yet

John McCain says he hasn't decided on a running mate just yet.

The Republican presidential candidate told a Pittsburgh radio station he wouldn't even talk about which way he is leaning.

In the interview with KDKA NewsRadio on Thursday morning, McCain talked very highly about one of the people considered a strong possibility to be his choice, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. He called Ridge a great American and a dear friend whom he has relied upon for years.

5 Most-Joked-About Public Figures by Late-Night TV Talk Show Hosts

Just for fun...

Bush tops the list, and Obama is joked about less than McCain

1. George W. Bush - 605 jokes
2. Hillary Clinton - 562
3. John McCain - 549
4. Barack Obama - 382
5. Eliot Spitzer - 240

The next VP?

McCain on potential VP pick, and former presidential rival, Mitt Romney:

“Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty — and the pig likes it.”

A Democrats dream?

McCain has picked his VP

Reports ae emerging that Sen. John McCain has picked his Vice Presidential running mate.

McCain will notify the successful candidate on Thursday before appearing with them at an Ohio rally on Friday.

Names rumoured to be on the Senators shortlist include former presidential rival, Mitt Romney, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman and former HP chair, Carly Fiorina.

Meanwhile, former Bush aide, Karl Rove has been pleading with Lieberman not join the Republican ticket.

When JFK did it

This was the scene as John F. Kennedy stood up to accept the Democratic nomination 48 years ago at the LA Coliseum.

How McCain can beat Obama

Great article over at The Spectator on how John McCain can beat Barack Obama and win the presidency this November.

Do you agree?

History in the making..

Barack Obama is nominated by Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for President. 

Clinton gets rave reviews

Mike Huckabee on the morning shows raving about former President Bill Clinton's speech:

"As a Republican, I hated it"

Time interview with McCain

This Time interview with John McCain is well worth a read.

His trade mark openness and ease with the press is definitely a thing of the past as he adjusts to the needed discipline of a presidential campaign.

Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee

Sen. Barack Obama became the first African American to ever be nominated by a major party in the United States last night.

History in the making.

Bill Clinton speaks at the DNC

27 August 2008

A typically American event

The Democratic convention has captivated the world this past week. The world’s media have rushed to Denver, Colorado to see the ‘crowning’ of Barack Obama as the Democrat’s Presidential candidate. This Democratic convention is indeed very special. There appears to be an apparent tension in Denver. Michelle Obama’s stirring introduction. Hillary Clinton delivering a key speech, backing Obama. Hillary supporters refusing to back down. Nervous Democrats urging unity, whilst concerning themselves with Obama’s slim lead in the polls. Rallying calls from THE Democratic family, the Kennedy’s. Then add to that the arrests of the would-be assassins of Mr Obama – yet all they appear to be are crazy junkies on a racist rant, not a credible threat to the Senator.

All of this and we’re only half way through the Convention! When Obama takes to the main stage at Invesco Field, in front of almost 80,000 Democrats some might be forgiven for thinking the election is over, such is the drama and intense interest in this Democratic convention this year. The definite feel I get from watching the Convention is that it so unique. It is an American institution. It is much more than the British Party Conferences. There is so much more pomp and patriotism involved in the States. The Democratic Convention, and presumably the Republican Convention to follow, is the glitz and glamour centre piece of the American political calendar. It is the centre stage for the nominees to steal the show, to boost opinion polls and rejuvenate their campaigns after slow summers.

This is exactly what Barack Obama will be hoping when he steps out in front of that monster crowd in Denver. This is the beginning to the real election push for Obama and McCain. All that went before will take a back seat. From now until November 4th, the Presidential Election campaign is well and truly on. Get your banners out, your political t shirts on and switch on your new channel (anything but Fox please) and get ready for the Election. It’s going to be special.

Stewart Munn

GOP strike oil

Congressional Republicans have not had a happy time of late. Indeed, for their opponents, the GOP on Capitol Hill has been the gift that keeps on giving – from Larry Craig’s rest-room antics to the seemingly endless stream of Jack Abramoff-related scandals, the Republican Party has single-handedly kept the blogosphere in business. And, with a multitude of retirements opening up more competitive races than is wise for a party on the slide, it looked like the bad times would keep on rolling

Then, during the month of August, something changed. It looks as if the GOP, if not leaping from its sick-bed quite yet, might be ready to put the defibrillator away.

The House Republicans were angry. Speaker Pelosi had called time for the summer without allowing a vote on offshore drilling and they weren’t going to take it lying down. Holidays were cancelled, members were torn from their airline seat mid-pretzel. It was time for a good old fashioned sit-in. On the floor of the House. With speeches. On drilling. It looked like the sort of stunt that would start with a huff of indignation and end in an embarrassed whimper with all involved struggling to remember whose idea it was in the first place.

As the sit-in continued, the GOPers tried to stop their spectacle becoming a broken record by engaging in competitive hyperbole. “In some sense”, announced Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), “you might say this is now the Alamo.” If Bachmann was at the Alamo, Tom Price (GA) was in Beijing, “We’re here in the Olympic spirit,” he claimed, "The athletes demand excellence of themselves. The American people deserve excellence from their government.” John Shadegg (AZ), incredibly, attempted to claim credit for a recent fall in oil prices and Virginia Fox (NC), appropriately wanted to separate sheep and goats by asking, “are you pro-American energy? Are you anti-American energy?”

While this all seemed a wonderful opportunity to scoff, it may just have started to work. Having lost the shackles of expectation that come with being in the majority, the Republicans have rediscovered the art of ‘bomb-throwing’ perfected under their former Speaker (and guest agitator at the House last week) Newt Gingrich. For all the futility and frequent silliness of the sit-in itself, it, along with their presidential nominee’s support of offshore drilling, has allowed the Republicans to begin to define the terms of the debate on gas prices and leave the Democrats bickering and struggling to articulate their solution to the problem.

The Democrats still look odds-on to make gains in both chambers come November but with Congressional approval ratings at microscopic levels (never a happy omen for the party in charge) and gas prices promising to be a central issue of the campaign, it could be that the Republicans have finally, ahem, struck oil.

By Ross English

Who are you in this for?

Tuesday 26th August, Denver. Hillary's answer rang load and Clear - America. After months of speculation and rumours of anything from a coup to a non appearance Hillary has finally thrown her lot in with Obama. Although there are still some of her supporters who are resolutely against Obama even going as far as holding their own convention and planning to wage war on the convention floor to make sure that the Democrats recognise the votes of Hillary's supporters.

These women, and they do seem to mainly be women, are willing to ignore Hillary herself to continue in a battle that ended months ago. In their efforts to support their heroine they fail to see what Hillary herself has recognised, the game has moved on and there is a bigger badder foe in town.

Hillary, always an astute politician, has put party and nation before personal ambition to fight for the rights of ordinary Americans. Now is the time for those democrats who are ignoring the ideological battle with the Republicans to focus a lost battle and are ignoring the issues that Hillary stood for to stand up and say, as Hillary did, that there is something more important to fight for now and although the person leading that fight isn't the one they wanted it's time to put that aside as there is more at stake. As Hillary herself said:

"I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn't have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care. I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps t-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: "Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there....and then will you please help take care of me?" I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do?... I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

It's time for some democrats to ask themselves, who were you in this for?

By Beth Connor

Giuliani: Hillary's speech helps Republicans

DENVER, Colorado (AFP) - Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani crowed Wednesday that Hillary Clinton's showstopping convention speech would help Republicans defeat the Democrats in the White House race.

"I think she gave a very good speech from her point of view and our point of view, but not necessarily for Barack Obama's point of view," he told Fox News.

"She never really answered the key question, is he prepared to be president? Which is the issue she put out there, rather dramatically, during the primaries."

Clinton brought the Democratic convention at Denver to its feet late Tuesday with a powerful speech ordering her supporters to unite behind Obama, who defeated her in the nominating contests.

Her speech sought to end the party divisions after the bruising primary race, and Obama said afterwards he thought it was an "outstanding" address.

"She gave a great speech last night," agreed Giuliani, who failed in his own bid to carry the Republican crown into the November 4 elections losing to John McCain.

"Why isn't she the vice-presidential candidate. Why isn't she the presidential candidate," he added, once again picking at the Democrat's wounds with many Clinton supporters still distraught at her defeat.

He said on Fox and Friends he had been convinced that Obama would pick Clinton as his running mate and "I couldn't understand why he would organize a convention to give the Clintons two nights and then diss Hillary as vice-president."

- AP

Reaction to Clinton's's Speech

Reaction to Sen. Hillary Clinton's address to the DNC last night appears to be decidedly mixed.

CNN questions whether this speech was about endorsing Barack Obama or about launching the next Clinton campaign.

Over at Politico the reports focus on whether Clinton has really done enough.

Where as the New York Times reported that the speech was an impassioned plea for party unity.

"Wake up America!"

Rep. Dennis Kucinich give a barnstorming speech to the DNC last night... it is well worth a watch..

Passionate or just plain crazy?

Hillary's Speech

Full text of Hillary's speech

An anniversary betrayed?

Today is the 88th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US constitution which enshrined the right of all women to vote in American elections. It is also the day that Hilary Clinton takes to the stage at Denver to make her speech to the Democrat Convention in which she will (once again) formally concede defeat and endorse the nomination of Obama.

That a key moment in the battle for women’s rights provides the setting for Hilary’s speech, which will mark her final moment as a current Democratic nominee (albeit one who has suspended her campaign) is an apt ending to the drama of this battle for Party nomination which has itself been a milestone in the advancement of American women.

But whilst in her speech Hilary is expected to try to heal the wounds inflicted by the long and often bitter campaign to become the Democrat Presidential nominee and urge her supporters to throw their support behind Obama, many of her supporters appear far from receptive to such talk.

An embittered hardcore have pledged their support for McCain in an ‘’at all costs’’ attempt to block Obama from gaining the Presidency. And with Obama and McCain neck and neck in the polls the fight to win over this stubborn group may prove crucial.

The lengths these pro Clintonites are prepared to go has proved shocking, and the McCain campaign has been quick to court them. The most recent attack advert by the Republicans, released yesterday, stars Debra Bartoshevich, the former delegate to the Democratic Convention who lost her place after she publicly declared that she would vote for McCain in November. In it she once again pledges her support for McCain declaring that ‘’a lot of Democrats will vote McCain. It’s okay, really!’’.

Bartoshevich has joined a group of staunch Clintonites who have decamped to Denver to enact their own alternative convention. They are holding daily press conferences and protests and blogging intensely in their desperate campaign to get the roll call to be read out in its entirety on the conference floor in the hope that delegates will pledge their support for Clinton and that she will secure the nomination via this route.

This strategy is self evidently delusional; in suspending her campaign Hilary effectively conceded defeat and has transferred her support over to Obama through numerous public endorsements. And whilst this idea was circulated whilst her campaign was still live such a tactic now would surely split the Party without bringing her any closer to her White House ambitions.

It is also self defeating. In supporting John McCain these (mainly female) ex Democrats are getting in bed with a man who earlier this year promised to appoint Supreme Court Judges who would limit the reach of Roe Vs. Wade in an attempt to woo the Christian Right who had been sceptical of his election as the Republican nominee.

Hilary’s campaign galvanised the emotions of so many activists because it seemed to promise a brighter future for women in which achievement at the highest level was possible, in many ways it did. As Hilary put it ‘’Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling...it’s got about 18 million cracks in it’’.

Voting for a candidate who promises to attack many of the rights women have won will only take America further away from breaking this final glass ceiling, and is no way to mark such an anniversary.


Kate Ferguson.

25 August 2008

Ted Kennedy is in Denver

Reports suggest that Sen. Ted Kennedy flew in to Denver last night and is preparing to address the convention this evening.

Remembering Obama in 04

Just a little recap of the moment four years ago that shot Barack Obama on to the national scene.

Who would have thought then that he would be back just four years later to accept the parties nomination for President of the United States?


... Now we know, it's Biden. Obama's played it safe which is hardly surprising given his recent slump in the polls. The Obama campaign will have come to terms with the fact that they don't have the margins to pick someone more in tune with their campaign's theme of change and renewal in Washington. If Obama were 10, 15 points up then we may well have seen Kathleen Sebelius or Tim Kaine, Governors of Kansas and Virginia respectively, tapped as the Veep. Someone 'fresh', different, someone who with Obama could be seen to represent Change.

However, contrary to all expectations, Obama is either dead level or very slightly behind McCain depending on which polls you read. Obama is running around 15 points behind a "generic democrat" candidate in polling. This is extremely worrying for the Obama campaign. Clearly, Obama is still the favourite to win this election: the American electorate repeatedly says that it wants 'Change' in Washington and Obama is the living definition of that change. Race aside, his entire approach to politics is out of kilter with the norms of the American political mainstream and it is part of his magnetism at the ballot box. I think, perhaps, that the American electorate are getting cold cold feet.

John McCain has been in the Senate for 21 years. 'Change' wouldn't seem to be embodied by a septuagenarian white millionaire with over twenty years working within the beltway. Nevertheless, unlike with Hillary Clinton, experience seems to be winning over change in round two.

Which brings us to Joseph Robinette Biden (more on the middle name later). He's been the senate for longer than John McCain, he's run for President a couple of times and will have a back catalogue of gaffes, misspeaks and legislative votes which the Republican's will already have prepped for attack ads - expect the first one within the next 12-24hrs. His middle name (I profess ignorance as to its provenance) sounds French. Having a 'French connection' was used to rubbish Kerry in 2004. You can just hear the voiceover on the ads.

Let me just say: Biden is clearly qualified to be Vice-President. Frankly he's more qualified than either Obama or McCain. In part, this is good news for Obama because it means he can turn to critics who talk of youth and inexperience and reply 'Biden'. It also means that the ticket looks bottom heavy. He's also surrendered the change mantle by tying himself to a seasoned insider and won't be using the age card - Biden's not that much younger than McCain.

Biden isn't a game changer, he doesn't set the race alight - he's a safe sensible and inoffensive choice. Not that many column inches will be spent on him after the next week or so (unless he gaffes). That Obama & his campaign feel that it's necessary to take that option tells us all we need to know about how this race has shifted and that Obama's on the back foot.

Matthew Bennett

Clinton to run for president again

According to Pensylvania Gov. Rendell, Hillary Clinton will be seeking the presidency again in the future.

When asked by USA Today on Sunday morning at the site of the Democratic National Convention whether Senator Hillary Clinton would seek the presidency again, he replied "Yeah, she wants to run again".

Rendell, who was an ardent, is thought to hold some grudges following the bitter primary battles. So when will it be? 2012? 2016 perhaps?

Democratic Convention begins today!

The 2008 Democratic convention gets underway today weith Michelle Obama expected to take centre stage this evening.

Rumours have also emerged suggesting that recovering Senator Ted Kennedy will make an appearance at some point.

Sources claim Clinton will release her delegates to back Obama at the roll call on Wednesday.

The McCain camp has predicted that Obama might get a 15 point bounce from the convention.

I did wonder...

Way back on 10th June 2008 I wondered why Joe Biden was not being openly touted as a VP pick.


VP pick Biden under fire

So Obama has chosen Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate. Not a huge surprise as he was high on the shortlist from the start. His state is one of the smallest in terms of the electoral college, so he won't help bring in a large conservative or toss-up state, but there is mixed evidence historically that vice-presidential candidates deliver their states for candidates anyway.

Generally, this is an excellent choice, he has almost 40 years of experience in the Senate which will help to silence the criticism of Obama as unprepared to be president. He is one of the country's leading experts on foreign affairs and defence issues, having served as chairman and a member of the Senate foreign relations committee for many years. He is older, white and a centrist in the party, and should help to reassure the more reactionary members of the electroate who are finding it hard to commit to Obama.

However, this is US presidential politics and the Republican's will be preparing to sling as much mud at him as possible and see what sticks. Here's a quick guide to the attacks we can expect on the Senator from Delaware:

  • One of his key strengths, 36 years in the Senate, could be used against him. Presidential elections always love mavericks (like McCain) and Washington outsiders (like Reagan, Clinton, Bush jr) so the Republican camp will no doubt use that with glee.
  • On the same theme, he was elected very young at age 30, and had a few years in law practice before that. The right will ask, where's his experience of the real world?
  • Again, he is old enough to have served in Vietnam, but didn't. He failed the medical due to asthma, but no doubt there will be a whispering campaign about his lack of war service.
  • He has form in presidential politics that may work against him. He ended his 1988 White House bid due to accusations of plagiarism in speeches, and confusion over his performance at law school. Biden allegedly sugested John McCain as running mate for John Kerry in 2004. His performance in the Iowa 2008 primary was woeful, and he withdrew early.
  • He will need to abandon his campaign for Senate re-election in Delaware this year, or he will face accusations that he isn't confident of Obama's victory.
  • And of course he is a northern Democrat, like Obama, which is bound to rile the South in the usual way.

So the Obama-Biden 2008 campaign will have to be on their guard, but this is nothing new for Democratic presidential candidates. Their main aim should be to ensure that their campaign isn't attacked and their candidate vilified in the same way that John Kerry was in 2004. Overall, Biden is an excellent candidates, but many excellent candidates have been victims of the Republican attack machine in recent history, and that is unlikely to change this year.