25 September 2008

Obama addresses Clinton Global Initiative!!

McCain suspends his campaign!!!

Republican White House hopeful John McCain threw the U.S. campaign into turmoil on Wednesday by calling for a delay in the first presidential debate to try to forge a Wall Street rescue plan -- a surprise move promptly rejected by Democrat Barack Obama.

23 September 2008

Nation's pigs to sue Obama

FRONTENAC, KS – The Obama campaign, already reeling from the surge in Republican support following Alaska governor Sarah Palin's addition to the ticket, faced another headache today. Senator Obama's quip about lipstick and pigs has led to the National Association for the Advancement of Porcine People (NAAPP) filing a $10 million law suit against the Democratic presidential nominee for defamation and emotional distress.

Speaking from his mud hole in eastern Kansas, NAAPP chairman Clancy Swineberger explained the move. "We hogs have been called a lot of names over the years, but this is just too much. Smelly, dirty, lazy, heck, my late brother was even called stringy. But Barack Obama comparing us to that freaking nutcase from Alaska is the final insult. We pigs aren't gonna take any more shit. Unless we can roll in it mind."

Attached to the lawsuit, which demands a retraction and full apology from Obama, is an extra bid for the word "pork" to be taken out of the nation's vocabulary when referring to congressional earmarks. "We just don't like all the bad talking of pigs in this country, especially from the Democrats. The NAAPP have always voted blue, even in red states like this, but we don't know what to do now."

An emergency meeting of the NAAPP executive council is being convened in a shallow pool of filth on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa to discuss who to support in the presidential election this fall.

"If only there was a goddamn Jew on a ticket this year. They may not like us, but they won't eat us."

By Nick Cooper

The view from New Hampshire

This past week I have been working in New Hampshire on the campaign trail with the New Hampshire Democrats. Fortunately for me I was able to attend a town hall meeting with Barack Obama in Hopkington, NH. This was the moment I had been waiting for, a chance to see Obama speak in person. The timing of my visit to New Hampshire could not have been better. On my last full day in the State I was going to be seeing Senator Obama in the flesh. All the talk of Obama being an electrifying presence was in fact true. I was a trembling, nervous wreck at 1pm waiting outside the Hopkington Town Hall. Senator Obama was not expected on until 5pm. His aura was affecting me already, and I had hours still to wait!

The location of his speech was quite symbolic. Hopkington is a small, rural and very middle class town in the north of this vast and wild State. This is heartland of the undecided American vote. People who are fed up of feeling the brunt of Bush’s economic policies, but still unsure of the liberal Senator from Illinois. Obama was here to stress the point that he is the man to solve the economic crisis that is hurting America so much. He is the man to resolve the Iraq War and take the fight to the Taleban, Al-Qaeda and Osama bin-Laden. He is the man to reduce American dependence on foreign oil. Putting it simply, he is the man to trust.

Obama’s presence was indeed electrifying. The crowd loved him. There was definitely something special about him, but not too special. Not too special that people could not feel in touch with him. The one thing I had heard most from Obama doubters while out in New Hampshire was that he is arrogant, and the voters did not like that. I could see what they meant, but I did not see the arrogance in a negative light. I felt that Obama was self assured and confident. What’s wrong with that? If he is going to be the next President of America he will need all his confidence to tackle the important issues facing America. There were also many personal touches to his appearance, which appealed to me. His sensitive and reassuring words, which he gave to a tearful mother of a US soldier about to embark on his second tour of duty to Iraq, was very heartfelt.

Of course the audience was pro-Obama, and he will have to face more critical people from now until November. But he still maintained his aura of self-belief, and passion for the American people that has stood out throughout the election campaign. There was no confusion about polices or differences of opinion, which cannot be said of McCain and Palin. Obama laid out his message to the people in Hopkington town hall in a manner that will have struck a chord with many average Americans. They are the ones who will win the election for Obama; but they could easily lose it for him as well.

By Stewart Munn

Tony Blair on Jon Stewart - Part 2

Tony Blair on Jon Stewart - Part 1

Bill Clinton on The View!

Palin’ in comparison: that slightly awkward interview

“I think the leader of the opposition forgets I have been in this job for five days”. These were the words of Gordon Brown when David Cameron asked him during his first Prime Minister’s Questions whether he planned to ban extremist group Hitz ut Tahrir. Despite the fact that Brown had been an MP since 1983, Shadow Chancellor since 1992, and a member of Cabinet since 1997, he was happy to admit that he did not have sufficient experience as the head of government to respond to Mr Cameron’s question.

Sarah Palin will make no such admission. In her first interview since becoming John McCain’s running mate, Palin fiercely defended the experience which she believes she has acquired during her time as Mayor of Wasilla and Governor of Alaska. She attempted to differentiate between the international shock at her sudden political ascent, and any shock she herself might have felt at being nominated by McCain. When Charles Gibson, her rather dismissive interviewee, asks her, “Haven’t you said to yourself at some point in the past two weeks, ‘Holy cow’?”, Palin touches his arm and smiles cautiously, stating that she has not “had time to think that yet”.

No doubt she has been a busy woman over the past two weeks. There has been a lot of national policy—past, present and future—to catch up on. Yet the interview is, at times, uncomfortable viewing. Palin could not afford to answer consistently in the negative (though she conceded, when pressed, that she had never met a foreign head of state); yet many of the questions were designed to force her into answering ‘no’. Though she squirmed her way through much of the interview with non-committal responses, she could not avoid reiterating her personal views on the divisive topics of abortion and guns.

Appearing on The View earlier this week, McCain faced boos from a section of the audience when he stated that Roe v Wade had been a bad decision. Because Gibson’s interview with Palin was one-on-one, she was spared any such reaction to her views on abortion.

Yet the aggressive interview technique of Charles Gibson (or, as Palin refers to him constantly during the interview, “Charlie”) was a force to be reckoned with for the pitbull-in-lipstick. She repeated the phrase “You can’t blink” twice within one twenty second period, yet she blinked sixteen times within this period. The average rate of blinking for a human adult is between ten and fifteen times per minute—was this just a nervous twitch, or a Freudian slip-up?

Palin did not live up to the dazzle of her convention speech, and the interview paled in comparison. The comparison is, of course, terribly unfair. Her convention speech was prepared and polished, steering away from any contentious ground. The interview was on-the-spot, wide-ranging and largely hostile. Nevertheless, with less than four months to go before Palin could be Vice-President, a competent, confident interview is not too much to ask for. Palin did well enough under the circumstances, and she remains likeable. It is clear, however, that she needs a lot more prepping before she faces Biden in the looming Veep debate. She has until 2nd October to know all there is to know about absolutely everything.

By Robert Black

Do VPs matter?

Amongst all the Palin-inspired hoopla, a question is beginning to surface across the blogosphere: when it comes to who wins the election, do VP picks actually matter?

The briefest perusal of recent political history lead to a couple of conclusions:

Bad VP picks can be a drag on a campaign but are rarely fatal.

Good picks can help in a close race but won’t save a struggling campaign.

As dubious picks go, the unholy trinity of Richard Nixon (1952), Spiro Agnew (1968) and Danforth Quayle (1988) (un)ably demonstrate that a running mate with ethical, experience or competence issues can be part of a winning ticket. Geraldine Ferraro proved a controversial choice for Walter Mondale’s disastrous 1984 campaign, but it would take wildy optimistic imagination to suggest that any other choice could have saved the Democrat from a trouncing by Ronald Reagan. Perhaps the worst pick ever was the (short-lived) 1972 selection of Thomas Eagleton; a choice that did little to inspire confidence in George McGovern’s decision-making, but hardly decisive in a race against an incumbent president with approval ratings in the high 50s.

If there is little evidence of a modern VP pick scuppering a campaign, is it possible to find running mates who pushed the candidate into power? The obvious example is Lyndon Johnson in 1960 who, in one of the closest races, undoubtedly helped JFK hold large parts of the south that were on the verge of going Republican. The addition of Walter Mondale to the 1976 Democrat ticket is often quoted as another sage selection, adding gravitas to Jimmy Carter’s outsider appeal, but the evidence for the choice being anything like a crucial electoral decider is far less convincing.

The best illustration of the limited effect of VP picks is the 1968 campaign. Hubert Humphrey’s choice of Edmund Muskie was widely feted, whereas Nixon’s selection of Agnew was hardly popular, even within sections of his own party. The contrast between the two VP nominations was so clear that, in the final days of the campaign, Humphrey suggested that if a voter couldn’t choose between him and Nixon, they should base their decision on the running mates. A cartoon at the time depicted the campaign as a running race with Nixon on the track carrying Agnew in his arms; in the drawing it was Muskie who was carrying Humphrey and we know who became president.

But that was then, what about now? With 2008 promising to be as close as 2004, it is dangerous to discard any factor as unimportant. Palin may well energise the cultural conservative base who were so suspicious of McCain, or she might compare badly to Biden and look like a risky choice in a time of economic and international insecurity. Whatever, history shows us that, once the razzmatazz fades, the choices of running mate will not be crucial. It will be the top of the ticket that decides the race.

By Ross English

Bill Clinton: Hillary didn't want the vice presidency

Sitting on a couch shmoozing the ladies of The View on Monday, Bill Clinton said Hillary didn’t want to be Barack Obama’s running mate, but that she would have taken the job if she was asked.

“She would have been the best politically, at least in the short run, because of her enormous support [in] the country,“ Clinton said. “She said 'If he asks, I’ll do it because it’s my duty.'”

Clinton praised Biden and said he was a “good choice.” He said he had “no real opinion” on whether or not she should have been his running mate, but that the decision is personal and that he chose to stay out of it completely.

Clinton praised John McCain for his time spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and said the Arizona senator had been the only Republican candidate this year who could win the election, but predicted that Obama will win in November because of the state of the economy.

“I've made everyone in the world mad in this election,” Clinton said. “But I genuinely like both of them. I genuinely admire both of them. I think we make a terrible mistake believing we have to find something wrong with the people we can't vote for.”

When asked about Obama’s experience, Clinton said he was the same age as the Democratic nominee when he stepped into the Oval Office. He said he thinks both candidates are experienced enough to be president.

“Having been there, you could argue that no one is ever fully qualified to be president until you take it, because it’s such a unique job, you have to learn things as you go,” Clinton said. “But I think he is ready to be president, and I think McCain is ready to be president, I think you gotta decide which president you want.”

We're back!

After a work overload and a short break, normal blogging will resume on Politicana.co.uk today!

Sorry for the lack of posts!