Archive for the ‘Joe Biden’ Category

I don’t wanna be sedated.

These should keep you busy watching the returns come in tomorrow.

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I and many of my friends and colleagues in the press been watching this campaign for two years and it all comes down to tomorrow. Amazing how it all went by so fast. Take some time to relax, get some rest, and savor the moment. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Earlier, I posted a link to Politico’s list of the biggest gaffes of the campaign, while adding my own to the list. TIME Magazine has put together a much more thorough version of that list, which is well worth reading.

I had forgotten so many of these gaffes, and how they dominated the campaign cycle at one point or another. My revised list of big gaffes, based on political fallout or humor:

John McCain’s “Fundamentals of our economy” comment
Hillary Clinton ducking sniper fire in Bosnia
Phil Gramm’s “Nation of whiners” comment
Barack Obama’s 57 states comment
Mark Penn’s Colombian deal
Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric
Barack Obama’s “Bitter” comment
Sarah Palin’s wardrobe
Joe Biden’s international test
Sarah Palin’s prank call
Mitt Romney: “Who Let the Dogs Out”
Barack Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment

Politico compiles the best of the 2008 cycle. They focused on the two presidential nominees, but I would expand the list to include some of the other characters we’ve seen in the 2008 race.

ONE-LINERS
Joe Biden hits Rudy Giuliani: “A noun, a verb and 9/11”
Sarah Palin on the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull.
Bob Casey at the DNC: “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick.”
Mike Huckabee: “Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office.”
John McCain on following Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell.

GAFFES
Sarah Palin’s entire interview with Katie Couric
Hillary Clinton invoking the assassination of Bobby Kennedy during the primaries
Barack Obama’s “bitter” comments at a fundraiser
Carly Fiorina saying John McCain and Sarah Palin couldn’t run Hewlett Packard
John McCain: “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran”

TPM’s Greg Sargent has the schedules. This speaks volumes about the morale in the two campaigns and who’s got momentum.

McCain/Palin:
Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia

Obama/Biden:
Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia

The final days of the campaign are going to be fought out by the candidates on the ground in Bush states, with the exception of Pennsylvania – which McCain needs to reach 270 votes, and the four states (Alaska, Arizona, Delaware and Illinois) where the candidates go to cast their ballot and watch the results come in. This has been the dynamic of the campaign for much of the final weeks. If somebody had told me four years ago that this year would come down to a handful of what were reliably Republican states for years, in some cases decades, I wouldn’t have believed it.

This is a look at the race in the battleground states during the last week before the election.   They will ultimately decide whether Barack Obama or John McCain wins the presidency.  As I have said repeatedly, Obama has more options than McCain to reach the 270-vote threshold to win the race.  There is even a possible scenario where Obama can win the race without Florida, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania – four out of the five biggest swing states up for grabs.   To use a poker analogy, McCain has an inside straight and has no room for error.

Arizona

The Obama campaign had conceded Arizona months ago on the assumption that it was a lock to vote for McCain.  A series of polls during the final week before the election showed Obama cutting the deficit to single digits within the margin of error, leading to a last-minute blitz in ad spending.  Now, they have forced McCain to play defense in his home state when time and money is running out, which is good for the Obama campaign at this point because it means he has less time and money to spend in more competitive states.

Prediction: McCain wins by 2-5 points.

Colorado

Multiple polls show Obama leading here.  The McCain campaign publicly insists that they’re competitive here, but in private some are saying the state is gone.  Given that the NRSC has also given up on spending money on behalf of the Republican candidate in this race, it is an implicit concession that the GOP will lose the state up and down the ballot.

Prediction: Obama wins by 4-7 points.

Florida
With all due respect to the late Tim Russert, this election will not come down to Florida, Florida, Florida. McCain was ahead for a long time but Obama caught up to him and it is now a tossup. McCain and the Republicans will manage to hang on to it.

Prediction: McCain wins by 1-4 points.

Georgia

This has been a solidly Republican state for years, but given record numbers of African Americans who are going out to vote and a surprisingly close Senate race between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin, the Obama campaign sees an opening and is spending money on TV time there in hopes of pulling off an unlikely upset.

Prediction: McCain wins by 7-10 points.

Indiana

This is one of the most reliably Republican states in the country, although they have been known to elect Democrats for congress and governor.  Obama is competitive here in large part because of the Chicago suburbs in northwest Indiana, many of which have large African American populations.  He almost pulled off an upset against Hillary Clinton here, losing the primary only by single digits. It’s given Republicans a scare, but they will hang on to it.

Prediction: McCain wins by 3-6 points.

Iowa

This is where it all began for Barack Obama’s improbable quest for the presidency, with an upset win over Hillary Clinton 10 months ago.   This was one of only two states that Bush was able to flip in his favor during his 2004 bid.  But Obama’s ground operatin in the state, as well as voter concerns about the economy mean it’s pretty much a lock for him.  Political observers have been skeptical of the McCain campaign’s decision to spend time and money here when most polls indicate the state was not competitive.

Prediction: Obama wins by 8-11 points.

Missouri

Considered by many political observers to be the bellweather state to watch, since it usually winds up in the winner’s column in every election. There are signs of optimism on the ground for the Democrats but in the end, it will stay in the Republican column.

Prediction: McCain wins by 2-5 points.

Montana

Montana has not voted for a Democrat since 1992, and that was largely due to the fact that Ross Perot siphoned off a majority of his votes in the state from President George H.W. Bush. A similar scenario might be in play this year: Ron Paul is on the ballot as the Constitution Party candidate, and you also have to remember Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. In a close race, Paul and Barr could take away enough votes from McCain to play spoiler and tip the state for Obama. Also in Obama’s favor is the fact that the highly popular Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer is up for reelection, and that Republicans failed to find a meaningful challenger to Democratic senator Max Baucus.

Prediction: Obama wins by 1-4 points.

New Hampshire

John McCain has a long history and deep affection for New Hampshire voters, since they were the ones who gave him key victories in the state’s primary in 2000 and 2008.  However, given the Democratic tilt of New England, especially after the 2006 elections when many moderate Northeastern Republicans were ousted by voters, it will be very difficult for McCain to win this state.

Prediction: Obama wins by 6-9 points.

New Mexico
A significant Hispanic population, a popular Democratic governor, and an open Senate seat, all good signs for the Democrats.  This was the other state that flipped from the Democrats to the Republicans in 2004.  The NRSC has given up on its efforts to hold on to the seat of retiring Republican senator Pete Domenici, and the McCain campaign has practically conceded this state already, even if they didn’t state so explicitly.

Prediction: Obama wins by 9-12 points.

Nevada

Two things working in Obama’s favor: the state’s large Hispanic population and that the urban areas in the southern part of the state (Las Vegas and the suburbs and exurbs) are his strongholds in the state. Kerry narrowly lost here in 2004, but political oddsmakers in Vegas and elsewhere expect an Obama win this time around.

Prediction: Obama wins by 3-6 points.

North Carolina

North Carolina has not voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976, and they did not get behind native son John Edwards when he was on the ticket four years ago. There are two reasons why this state is competitive now: a large African American population and economic woes in the region. Also helping Obama is a Senate race where the unpopular incumbent is likely to lose, which could help his chances at the top of the ticket. In the end, these are enough to make the state competitive, but not enough to put it in the Obama column.

Prediction: McCain wins by 1-4 points.

North Dakota

This has been another reliably Republican state until late polling showed the spread within single digits, leading to a last-minute ad blitz by the Obama campaign. They’ve elected Democrats to the Senate and the House in the past. It’s going to be close, but Republicans should be able to keep it.

Prediction: McCain wins by 1-4 points.

Ohio

Two historical facts you will hear over and over again on Election Night: First, this is the state that got George W. Bush reelected four years ago.  Second, no Republican has ever been elected to the White House without carrying Ohio. The state has been hit hard economically, making it a ripe pickup opportunity for the Democrats this year.  Polls give Obama a narrow lead, but McCain can still pull it off, especially if the Joe the Plumber attacks proved effective at raising economic doubts about Obama among undecided voters.

Prediction: McCain wins by 1-4 points.

Pennsylvania

John McCain’s strategy for victory hinges entirely on winning Pennsylvania, where polls show him trailing Obama by as much as double digits.  The Obama campaign must be feeling pretty good about this state, considering they don’t have any visits planned there between now and Tuesday.   McCain may make his last stand here.  If the networks call this state for Obama, he will have to make up the difference elsewhere, and he has very little room for error.

Prediction: Obama wins by 5-8 points.

Virginia

This state has been a lock for Republicans since 1964, but Obama’s early organizing and spending efforts have paid off.  Democrats have won three consecutive statewide races (two gubernatorial elections in 2001 and 2005, a Senate seat in 2006) and former governor Mark Warner is a slam dunk to win the Senate seat being vacated by John Warner. When McCain surrogates insult the Washington DC suburbs which account for one third of the population of the state, that’s not going to do them much good.  Expect Virginia to go blue for the first time since another Arizona Republican was the presidential nominee.

Prediction: Obama by 4-7

West Virginia

The blue collar states in the Appalachia region were considered Obama’s big geographic weak spot during the primaries against Hillary Clinton. But despite having two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor, the rural socially conservative West Virginia tilts to the GOP. Once the race became about the economy, the polls tightened again here, as in the rest of the country.

Prediction: McCain wins by 1-4 points.

If my predictions are correct, this is what the map will look like once the dust clears:

ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTE COUNT:
Barack Obama – 294
John McCain – 244
Percentage Difference – 49-44
Popular Vote Difference – 6 million

The state that puts Obama past 270 is an interesting question this year because of the number of reliably Republican states Obama has made competitive. If Obama wins North Carolina and Virginia, it will be a relatively early election night because those two states combined are worth 28 votes, one more than Florida. If Obama manages to pull off an upset in an early state on the East Coast (Georgia, Indiana), then it will be game over very quickly, potentially by midnight Eastern time once the numbers for Midwestern states start coming in.

Based on my projections, my sense is that the evening progresses and states on the East Coast and Midwest begin falling in line, it will be a state from the mountain West that puts him over the top. My prediction is it will be Colorado or New Mexico.

538 The total number of votes in the Electoral College.

270 The number of votes in the Electoral College needed to win the White House.

72 – John McCain’s age. If elected, he would be the oldest first term president in American history.

65 – Joe Biden’s age.

47 – Barack Obama’s age.

44 – Sarah Palin’s age.

9The number of candidates who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.

11 The number of candidates who ran for the Republican presidential nomination.

43 The number of men who have been President of the United States.

46 The number of men who have been Vice President of the United States.

14 The number of vice presidents who have become president.

0 – The number of women and African Americans who have been President or Vice President of the United States.

41 The number of states that lost jobs during the month of September.

11 The percentage of people who think the country is going in the right direction, according to a recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times.

15The approval rating of Congress in a recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times.

22 President George W. Bush’s approval rating in recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times.

435 The number of members in the House of Representatives. All of them are up for re-election.

34 The number of senators up for re-election.

60 The number of senators necessary to break a filibuster.

9 The number of Senate seats Democrats need to win on Election Day to reach a 60-seat filibuster-proof supermajority.

150,000The amount of money the Republican National Committee spent on shopping for clothes for Sarah Palin and her family after she was chosen to be John McCain’s running mate.

150,000,000The record amount of money the Obama campaign raised during the month of September.

134,000,000The amount of money the Obama campaign had at its disposal to spend during the final month of the election.

640,000,000The amount of money raised by the Obama campaign.

360,000,000The amount of money raised by the McCain campaign.

84,000,000The amount of money from public financing John McCain could spend during the last two months of the campaign after securing his party’s presidential nomination.

4,191The number of U.S. military casualties killed in Iraq since 2003.

554The number of U.S. military casualties killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

537 The number of votes that decided who won Florida and the 2000 presidential election.

123,535,883The number of people who voted in the 2004 presidential election.

19,549,291The number of ballots cast during early voting in the 2008 election.

Note: All statistics are updated as of Friday, October 31.

Saturday Night Live has a little fun at Joe Biden and John Murtha’s expense.

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Following the example set by Tina Fey’s devastating mockery of the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric, Biden’s SNL impersonator Jason Sudeikis uses Biden’s own words during the skit.