Archive for the ‘Talking Heads’ Category

Not a good outlook for McCain. Never in a million years did I think my projections would be more conservative than Karl Rove’s.

According to their press release, my former employer CNN has a sweet new gadget to do interviews with guests from remote locations, via holographic projection:

Adding to what promises to be one of the most technologically advanced events in CNN’s 28-year history, CNN will enhance interviews with remote correspondents and guests using hologram projection. The network has built sets powered by hologram technology at both campaign headquarters making it possible to project three-dimensional images into the Election Center. From the New York set, anchors will exhibit more natural conversations with newsmakers and CNN correspondents in the field by interacting in real time with their 3-D virtual images.

Did they rip the idea off from Star Wars or what?

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.

My friend and former classmate Matt Mundy offers this analysis of Bill Kristol’s prognosticating this election season and takes him out to the woodshed. Shorter Matt: Kristol offers advice, the McCain campaign seemingly follows it and tanks in the polls, and now Kristol is criticizing the campaign for following a course of action he advocated.

“There’s going to be a bloodbath. A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party. The litmus test will be: where did you stand on Palin?”
Jim Nuzzo, former White House aide to George H.W. Bush

This time from Arizona Republican senator Jon Kyl.

Update: Former Bush speechwriter David Frum is also pessimistic about McCain in his Washington Post op-ed.

Chuck Todd is one of the most influential political observers and commentators in Washington.  When he says something, people listen.  This is not what the McCain people want the chattering class in the media to be talking about less than two weeks before the election.

Commenting on a new joint interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd described the Republican ticket as lacking cohesion, chemistry, and (he hinted) trust.

“There was a tenseness,” Todd told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “I couldn’t see chemistry between John McCain and Sarah Palin. I felt as if we grabbed two people and said ‘here, sit next to each other, we are going to conduct an interview.’ They are not comfortable with each other yet.”

Todd, who was remarking on the interview conducted by NBC’s Brian Williams (he was in the room), speculated that the candidates had come to the realization that “they are losing” the campaign, and guessed that McCain may have begun to hold his vice presidential choice responsible for his dwindling White House chances.

As a habit, I try to keep up with what the various pundits are saying about the election, because what they focus on often drives the political discussion at the local and national level. One guy I’ve been following especially closely is Karl Rove.

He’s been updating his presidential map fairly frequently, and I am surprised at his most recent forecast: a 313-171 rout for Obama, winning Florida and Virginia. Undecided states include Missouri, North Carolina, and North Dakota.

Rove is a movement conservative, but his political instincts and insights are finely honed after decades of experience as a partisan operative. Whether or not his new role as a pundit frees him from the standard GOP spin is subject to debate, but if he is being this frank about McCain’s chances publicly, I can only imagine the kind of fretting going on behind closed doors in Republican circles.

ABC’s Jake Tapper has a good recap of the highlights of Powell’s interview on Meet the Press.

As I said before – this will dominate the news cycle for one or two days. Pundits in the blogosphere and the major media will be aflutter talking about this. Obama clearly controlled the narrative yesterday with the carefully timed announcement of his $150 million fundraising figure and the nod from Powell.

McCain’s problem is that he is running out of time. He has about two weeks to go and not many ways to change or control the media narrative before Election Day. Barring a drastic change in the underlying fundamental dynamic of this election (which happened when the financial crisis hit on September 15), the political environment will continue to favor Obama.

Update: Former McCain adviser Mike Murphy weighs in at TIME’s Swampland Blog. His analysis: “Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama today is a real sledgehammer blow to the already staggering McCain campaign.” The rest of it is not pretty.

A few days ago, I made note of the back and forth sniping going on between the McCain campaign and conservative pundit Bill Kristol. It’s gotten a bit personal lately, with McCain campaign manager Rick Davis personally taking Kristol out to the woodshed on national television. The key soundbite:

DAVIS: Yes, well, you know, it’s a good thing Bill Kristol has never run a political campaign because he’d probably have to fire himself at least two or three times.

This may be beyond standard political sniping. Scott Horton of Harper’s has written extensively about Bill Kristol’s role in promoting Sarah Palin for the VP slot. But in a recent interview with Glenn Greenwald, Horton reveals evidence of discontent behind closed doors at the McCain campaign.

SH: I’d say, of course the McCain campaign isn’t doing too well right now, and one of the consequences of that is we’ve got a lot of finger-pointing going on within the camp, and I’d say there’s a pretty broad agreement amongst a number of the senior-most advisors to McCain that the Palin pick is worse than disappointing. It’s a total disaster, as one describes to me. And there is a sort of blame game going on there.

Now, one of them described to me quite recently in some detail, who it was who introduced and pushed the Palin nomination, and he says it really boils down – there were a number of people behind the nomination, but there’s one person who was essentially the person who introduced her as a candidate and pushed her consistently and firmly all through the summer primary she was elected – and that person is Bill Kristol. And the interesting thing is of course, if we look across the whole horizon of conservative columnists, prominent conservative columnists, pretty much all of them are expressing reservations or concerns or they’re outright opposing Palin as a pick, with one really striking exception, and that’s Bill Kristol. And Bill Kristol, in none of his columns has acknowledged that he in a sense is the author of Sarah Palin. He discovered her, he promoted her, and he pushed her through to the vice-presidential nomination.

If this is true, that makes Kristol’s recent criticism of Palin much more self-serving. It’s become full-on cover your ass mode. When the post-mortem of this campaign is written, there will be a lot of people pointing fingers at each other, and I think quite a few of them will be pointed at Bill Kristol.