Archive for October, 2008

John Cole notes the surprising similarity between the core message of John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain this year. He makes broader points about rebuilding the Republican grassroots movement, but he is absolutely right that “Not Bush” in 2004 and “Not Obama” in 2008 were/are not winning messages. Kerry and McCain each have their unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses as political candidates, but their fundamental problem was the same: they were unable to make the case as to why people should vote for them, rather than voting against the other guy.

“When you’re making ads that say ‘There is no God,’ it usually means your campaign doesn’t have much of a prayer.”
GOP strategist Alex Castellanos

If you need proof that the McCain campaign is taking the tightening poll numbers in Arizona seriously, here it is:

John McCain and the Republican National Committee are now running robocalls attacking Obama as weak on terrorism — in McCain’s home state of Arizona, according to multiple readers from the state.

The call signals genuine worry about McCain’s home state at a time when several polls show the race to be much closer than expected there.

McCain’s robocall, which was played to us over the phone by Mary Joe Bartel, a retiree who lives south of Tucson, attacks Obama as unprepared to defend the country from terrorism, singling out Joe Biden’s recent remarks about the likelihood of Obama being tested by an international crisis early in his first term.

This is extraordinary. It may seem like I’m being hard on McCain, but the sad reality is his campaign is a trainwreck happening in slow motion. If Obama had to spend time and money this late in the game to defend Illinois, I would be saying exactly the same thing. Looks like we may be in for a few more surprises on Election Day.

Update: According to Richard Wolffe, the Obama campaign is looking at the numbers and considering its options to make a last-minute push to contest the state – in the form of ads, staff and volunteers on the ground, or a visit from the candidate himself.

Obama’s war of attrition strategy, which he used effectively against Hillary Clinton, might work here as well. If he spends money on advertising or makes a campaign visit to Arizona, he may force McCain to have to reciprocate to compete with the media attention and to solidify his support there. In doing so, it forces McCain to use some of the limited time and resources he has left to defend a state he should have locked up in his column, instead of spending time in more competitive states like Ohio, Missouri and Florida.

And the race for 2012 is on!

Down in the polls but certainly not out, Gov. Sarah Palin remains in the fight as the campaign enters its final week.

In an interview with ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas, the Republican vice-presidential nominee was asked about 2012, whether she was discouraged by the daily attacks on the campaign trail, and would instead pack it in and return to her home state of Alaska.

“I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that would bring this whole & I’m not doing this for naught,” Palin said.

Palin said she believed in the current GOP ticket and that she was “thinking that it’s going to go our way on Tuesday, Nov. 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of the people will be revealed on that day,” she said.

Also see this live report from CNN’s Dana Bash:

This may be the ultimate jumping the shark moment for a campaign that has had more than its fair share already. Sarah Palin has essentially told the world that she’s looking out for Number 1. Expect to see another series of damaging internal campaign strife stories from former Romney aides who want to kneecap her to give their man frontrunner status for the next election.

Update: ABC News screwed up hard with the initial writeup of the article to the point where it was blatantly misleading and rapidly picked up by other news organizations. Someone seriously needs to be fired over this. Here’s the complete transcript of the exchange:

ELIZABETH VARGAS: If it doesn’t go your way on Tuesday … 2012?

GOV SARAH PALIN: I’m just … thinkin’ that it’s gonna go our way on Tuesday, November 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of … of the people will be revealed on that day. As they enter that voting booth, they will understand the stark contrast between the two tickets. …

VARGAS: But the point being that you haven’t been so bruised by some of the double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, “I’ve had it. I’m going back to Alaska.”

PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that … that would … bring this whole … I’m not doin’ this for naught.

Steve Clemons:

This ought to worry everyone. We’ll be under $2.00 in some parts of the country soon — and the price gougers elswhere in the country will slowly float down to these levels as well.

This is unfortunate on a number of fronts as a combination of the massive economic shocks that have hit the country and the precipitous price drop at the gas pump will be negative incentives in moving more expeditiously to alternative energy regimes.

This is an amazing story, not just for her longevity but because she lived through nearly every major civil rights milestone for African Americans in modern history. And if Obama wins the presidency next week, she will be one of the few, if not the only, voters with such an immediate generational tie to slavery to have the opportunity to vote for the country’s first African American president.

Serious wrong number

A flier sent by Michigan Democrats featuring a photo of Barack Obama that urged voters to submit an absentee ballot application includes a telephone number connecting callers to a phone sex line.