Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

The Times of London puts together this list of political endorsements that the candidates didn’t really want.

With George W. Bush on the sidelines during the final days of the election, the Obama campaign got the next best thing (or arguably, something better from their perspective): Dick Cheney’s public endorsement of John McCain.

It probably wasn’t his intention, but Cheney just handed the Obama campaign a whole new case of ammunition to use against McCain during the final days. Cheney’s approval ratings are lower than President Bush’s, 18 percent in a Harris poll taken last June, in part because he genuinely did not care about his personal poll numbers during his entire vice presidency because he was never going to run for the top job this year.

There is something liberating about having an attitude or mindset like that in any politician, but I wonder whether or not it affected his political antenna. Nobody but the most die-hard Republicans is excited about Cheney, and he is not the most effective messenger for undecided voters especially when the ballot is by extension a referendum on the eight years the administration he served was in power.

And to absolutely no one’s surprise, Obama pounced on the endorsement.

I doubt any voters are going to make their decision in the booth based on Dick Cheney’s endorsement. The flap here from the Republican perspective is that it’s a last-minute reinforcement of Obama’s “McCain=Bush” message which has been very effective as an attack strategy.

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.

“So here is where we are: McCain is hoping to make it a close race. Obama is hoping to make it a blowout.”
Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman

Downballot Senate Republicans are warning of Democrats controlling the Washington trifecta with a Senate supermajority:

WASHINGTON — In the waning days of the 2008 elections, Republicans from the top of the ticket on down are making a remarkable appeal: Vote for me, because the rest of my party seems headed for defeat.

A spate of new ads paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee are premised on Barack Obama beating John McCain. Some even say that Democrats could pick up enough Senate seats to have a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes. McCain, meanwhile, is arguing that a vote for him is a check against a Democrat-dominated Congress.

“Sending Jeff Merkley to the U.S. Senate could give one party a blank check … again,” says an announcer in an ad for Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, a Republican in a close race with Merkley, a Democrat. “Especially in this economy, Oregon needs an independent voice in the U.S. Senate.”

In North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole is at risk of losing to Democrat Kay Hagan, the announcer intones, “Who’s the Senate race really about? Hagan or Dole? Neither one. It’s about liberals in Washington. They want complete control of the government … The left wants 60 votes in the Senate.”

In Louisiana, another ad paid for by the Republican committee said of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu: “Landrieu votes with Barack Obama 81% of the time. Landrieu endorsed Obama. … Don’t give Washington liberals complete control; don’t give them a blank check.”

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.

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger rips Sarah Palin during an NPR interview where he was supposed to be making the case for his candidate John McCain.

A former Republican Secretary of State and one of John McCain’s most prominent supporters offered a stunningly frank and remarkably bleak assessment of Sarah Palin’s capacity to handle the presidency should such a scenario arise.

Lawrence Eagleburger, who served as Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and whose endorsement is often trumpeted by McCain, said on Thursday that the Alaska governor is not only unprepared to take over the job on a moment’s notice but, even after some time in office, would only amount to an “adequate” commander in chief.

“And I devoutly hope that [she] would never be tested,” he added for good measure — referring both to Palin’s policy dexterity and the idea of McCain not making it through his time in office. (Listen to audio below.)

The remarks took place during an interview on National Public Radio that was, ironically, billed as “making the case” for a McCain presidency. Asked by the host whether Palin could step in during a time of crisis, Eagleburger reverted to sarcasm before leveling the harsh blow.

“It is a very good question,” he said, pausing a few seconds, then adding with a chuckle: “I’m being facetious here. Look, of course not.”

Expect him to join Carly Fiorina at the undisclosed location for McCain surrogates during the final days of the campaign.

The closing arguments have been made, now both campaigns are calling in the A-list surrogates and going for a strong finish in the key battleground states before Election Day.

Obama called in Bill Clinton and Al Gore to hit Florida.

McCain called in Arnold Schwarzenegger to hit the campaign trail for him in Ohio.

This is almost an exact replay of what happened four years ago, when Clinton hit the trail for John Kerry in Pennsylvania and Schwarzenegger hit the trail for President Bush in Ohio.

The McCain people must be freaking out about this.

Update: During a conference call with reporters, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said they were buying TV ads in North Dakota, Georgia, and Arizona.

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.