Friday, October 31, 2008


McCain says Obama is too inexperienced to be trusted in an executive leadership position. But Obama’s campaign has been a smooth-running, steady, well-funded juggernaut. McCain’s campaign has been a lurching, dysfunctional mess, riven by backbiting and open rivalries that their boss seems unable or unwilling to control.

McCain has gotten a lot of mileage out of his POW experience, which was heroic, certainly. More recently, supporters have called him “saintly.” But look at their campaigns: Obama has maintained a high road, with good humor, and has been consistently respectful toward his opponent, even in criticism. McCain has run an unprecedentedly unprincipled and deceitful campaign, even by Republican standards. He has been personally angry, dismissive, and his rhetoric has become more and more vile the farther he’s fallen behind. Some messages from his campaign, his surrogates, and third party supporters have been openly racist and bigoted – without a peep of protest from The Saint.

McCain likes to trumpet his bipartisanship and history of reaching across the aisle, claiming that Obama has never done that. But in this campaign, McCain has been relentlessly divisive, burning bridges that will be very difficult to rebuild. Obama, meanwhile, has gained an almost unprecedented number of major Republican endorsements, including many papers across the country that NEVER endorse Democrats. Who’s the uniter, and who’s the divider in this campaign?

McCain was the mensch, the happy warrior, right? But the campaign has showed him to be testy, thin-skinned, vengeful, and – yes – erratic. He has sold out almost every principle and policy position people admired him for. Obama has been steady, fair-minded, cool and calm under the toughest pressure and brutal personal attacks.

Who has won the “character” debate, after all?

Another GOP swipe at McCain – and this one stings
"I just don't see how [McCain] can win," Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays told the Yale Daily News earlier this week. "He has lost his brand as a maverick; he did not live up to his pledge to fight a clean campaign."

National Review: McCain is about to suffer a humiliating defeat, but it’s not his fault, really

No, it’s not:

McCain and his people have been openly calling Obama a “socialist,” and worse, in recent days, But given the chance to defend that slander, Mr. Reasonable backs off
In an interview with Larry King last night, John McCain had this to say when asked bluntly whether Barack Obama is a socialist: "No, but I do believe that he has been in the far left of American politics, and stated time after time that he believes in spreading the wealth around."

It’s clear now that the “redistributionist” and “socialist” language against Obama isn’t just your typical painting-Democrats-as-pinkos ploy. It’s a coded racial attack on Obama (Psst! He wants to give YOUR money to the darkies)


More racial attacks coming:

NOTHING is accidental in these ads, even the subliminal stuff – catch the word BLACK?

The ongoing war against Palin
A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. . . .

So good to see one of these slimeballs humiliated in public. The word has come down, apparently, that no McCain operative can utter the name “Jeremiah Wright” – look what that reduces Michael Goldfarb to
[Atrios] Though Sanchez shouldn't have internalized the premise of Khalidi being anti-Semitic. Just because the McCain campaign says something doesn't make it so. . . .

More slander against Khalidi:

Obama’s half-hour show pulled in ONE FIFTH of US households in the top media markets

Another leftist rag endorses Obama – The Economist!
The Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday. It has not all disappeared: his support for free trade has never wavered. Yet rather than heading towards the centre after he won the nomination, Mr McCain moved to the right.

Meanwhile his temperament, always perhaps his weak spot, has been found wanting. Sometimes the seat-of-the-pants method still works: his gut reaction over Georgia—to warn Russia off immediately—was the right one. Yet on the great issue of the campaign, the financial crisis, he has seemed all at sea, emitting panic and indecision. Mr McCain has never been particularly interested in economics, but, unlike Mr Obama, he has made little effort to catch up or to bring in good advisers (Doug Holtz-Eakin being the impressive exception).

The choice of Sarah Palin epitomised the sloppiness. It is not just that she is an unconvincing stand-in, nor even that she seems to have been chosen partly for her views on divisive social issues, notably abortion. Mr McCain made his most important appointment having met her just twice.

Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying. . . .

McCain likes to complain that Obama is “already measuring the drapes in the White House.” So presumptuous, right? But the fact is that any well-organized campaign which truly expected to win would already begin planning for the transition. And Obama’s campaign is nothing if not well-organized,Authorised=false.html
The best-kept secret in Washington is that Barack Obama has the largest and most disciplined presidential transition team anyone can recall. . . .


And McCain’s campaign . . .?
As the 2008 campaign nears its conclusion, the presidential transition efforts of the two major candidates have become a study in contrasts: Sen. Barack Obama has organized an elaborate well-staffed network to prepare for his possible ascension to the White House, while Sen. John McCain has all but put off such work until after the election. . . .
Republican presidential candidate John McCain has set up an unconventional transition process to take over the White House in the event of an Election Day victory. . . .

How. Pathetic. This. Is.
A reader sends in this mailer by the Pennsylvania GOP which hails Hillary for the feminist breakthrough her candidacy represented -- displaying an affection for Hillary that is somewhat atypical for Republicans -- and even likens John McCain to the New York Senator.

The mailer, a bid for Hillary voters in Pennsylvania, features McCain and Hillary gazing at each other above a testimonial to Hillary's 18 million votes, a picture of Sarah Palin, and even an evocation of Hillary's criticism of Obama during the primary . . .

Responds Hillary spokesperson Kathleen Strand: "It is safe to say Hillary Clinton does not approve this message. She made history earning 18 million votes and has urged everyone who supported her to vote for Barack Obama because they have so much more in common with him than they do with Senator McCain. Voters should not be distracted by last minute, desperate attempts that claim otherwise."

When McCain loses, given the kind of campaign he has run, what will he leave behind for the Republican party?
[Jed] John McCain and Sarah Palin have based their entire campaign on a series of nasty, false personal attacks on Barack Obama. Their bet has been that Americans are a fearful, frightened bunch who won't be willing to vote for a new direction. But the McCain-Palin calculus couldn't have been more wrong; their bet is going to fail, and fail badly.

When it does fail, it will leave the Republican Party with nothing. John McCain will almost certainly outperform Barry Goldwater in this election in terms of his share of the vote, yet he will leave his party in far worse shape than did Goldwater. At least Goldwater left his party with a devoted base of conservative activists, energized by his commitment to conservative ideology.

McCain, meanwhile, has stood for nothing other than attacks on Barack Obama. He has taken a Republican brand that had been shattered by George W. Bush and done nothing to repair it, leaving his party with no more of a clue about how to address the needs of ordinary Americans than they had when this election cycle began.

The fact that almost nobody in McCain's party seems to understand the devastating consequences of this failure is a strong indication that Republicans will be stuck in the political wilderness for many years to come.

The Audacity of Hope
[Arizona] The campaign is now seriously examining a late surge into the state. That may include ramping up TV advertising, on-the-ground staff or even deploying the candidate to stop there. Obama is scheduled to make a Western swing late this week, making an Arizona visit possible.


[NB: Imagine John McCain needing to make an unexpected trip back to Arizona to hold onto his home state!]

It matters: what will the vote margin be in the blue states?

Will Obama have a “mandate”?

Is the gap closing?

Obama's Lead Edges Up . . .

Fox News, deceiving us? Could it be?
[Steve Benen] There have been some national polls showing John McCain narrowing the gap a bit this week -- which is not at all unexpected -- but Fox News raised some eyebrows this afternoon with a new poll showing Obama's lead down to just three points nationwide, 47% to 44%.

A week ago, a similar Fox News poll showed Obama's lead at nine points, 49% to 40%, which certainly gives the appearance of some favorable movement in McCain's direction.

But it is Fox News, which, as a rule, is grounds for some skepticism. In this case, the results are worth a closer look. . . .


If you’re feeling nervous about the outcome next week, read this. If you’re worried about jinxing the outcome, don’t
Barack Obama has won the 2008 Presidential Election . . .

Obama’s margins holding in swing states (a.k.a. used to be red states)

You know, I actually think Obama has to be careful about this
[Matt Yglesias] I’m not sure if it’s the audacity of hope, but it certainly takes some kind of audacity follow up a seven-network 30 minute prime time ad buy with a fundraising email pleading poverty:

“Our spending plans have been stretched by John McCain’s negative attacks and the overwhelming resources of the Republican National Committee.

As of October 15th, John McCain and the RNC together had nearly $20 million more in cash than the combined total of Obama for America and the DNC. And just this week, we’re facing new and unexpected spending against us in Montana and West Virginia.”

There’s some impressive illogic in that last sentence. McCain being forced to play defense in Montana and West Virgina is spun as an unexpected problem for the poor, cash-strapped Obama campaign. It’s clever.

Freedom of speech? Freedom of assembly? Not in McCain’s America

Hey, Justice Department, investigate THIS
[Zachary Roth] The phony flier that surfaced recently in Virginia, instructing Democrats to vote on Wednesday November 5th, has drawn the attention of House Judiciary Chair John Conyers.

As we wrote Monday, the flier, which surfaced in largely African-American areas of the Hampton Roads region, is designed to look like an official communication from the state board of elections, even reproducing the board's logo. It informs readers that becasue of expected high turnout on election day, November 4th, Democrats have been asked to vote November 5th.

Election day, of course, is November 4th for everyone.

Conyers wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, asking him to take action. Conyer's letter points out that, because there are legitimate concerns in Virginia about over-crowded polling places, and because the flier is designed to look like it comes from the state election board, it "has enough of a ring of truth to confuse voters and suppress turnout." . . .
[Zachary Roth] Pat Rogers -- the lawyer tied to the New Mexico GOP, who has been accused in a federal lawsuit of being behind a plan to intimidate voters -- has denied that he broke the law.

"I have not violated any law and Mr. Romero has not violated any law," Rogers said yesterday evening when reached by the Associated Press.

Rogers was referring to Al Romero, a private investigator. According to a lawsuit filed earlier this week by MALDEF, a group that advocates for the rights of Hispanics, Romero went to the homes of several Hispanic voters in Albuquerque to question them about their right to vote. . . .
[Zachary Roth] Larry Johnson of St. Paul, Minnesota, says that he received a phone call from a woman who claimed to be from the secretary of state's office working on voter fraud, reports the Associated Press. The woman asked about his voting record, said Johnson. . .
[Project Vote] In the 2008 election Americans may once again be seeing law enforcement turned into a tool of voter suppression. . . .

Good news: voter suppression (mostly) is not working
Tens of thousands of Coloradans who had been removed from the state’s voter rolls will be allowed to vote in next week’s election and given extra protections so their ballots are counted . . .

Share this phone number: 866-OUR-VOTE collects and analyzes reports from calls to the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, which is staffed by hundreds of volunteers across the country. Tested during the presidential primaries, the site is already documenting over a thousand examples per day of voters needing information or reporting problems such as registration and ID issues, difficulties with voting machines, and polling place accessibility issues.

Theocracy warning: a new reason to vote against Obama
Columnist: If you vote for Obama, you're going to hell . . . [read on]

Kay Kagan (D-NC) comes back hard against Elizabeth Dole’s hateful ad yesterday

Senate candidate Kay Hagan (D-NC) has announced that she is filing a defamation lawsuit against the campaign of GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole . . .


Could convicted felon Ted Stevens still WIN in Alaska?
Some attendees wore shirts bearing the slogan, "F*#@ the feds, vote for Ted."

Nice try: head of the GOP Senate election committee tries to explain how unfair it is for voters to blame Bush and the Republicans for our economic mess

Another chapter in the ongoing series: the kind of people they are

Bush’s decision to launch an attack inside Syria has really screwed things up now
The Syrian government has broken relations with Baghdad. It has completely opened its border. . . . [read on]

Bonus item: Where’s Joe?

A haiku:
"Joe's with us today,"
Joe. Where are ya? Where is Joe?
Is Joe here with us?

More: McCain had to bus in 4000 school kids to inflate the attendance numbers at this rally

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Obama’s half-hour special (in case you missed it)
[Mark Kleiman] The McCain campaign dismisses Obama's thirty-minute closing argument as "a gauzy, feel-good commercial."

That must have been a canned response prepared in advance, since it had nothing at all to do with the actual 30 minutes, which in fact focused on families falling toward poverty due to illness not covered by health insurance, to jobs moving away, and to pensions that disappear when the firms go bankrupt.

Why is Obama winning?
[Kevin Drum] I notice that a number of liberal pundits are starting to worry in public that maybe John McCain is making up some ground and that maybe, just maybe, he could end up pulling ahead by election day. And sure, anything is possible. But I suspect that this growing fear is due in large part to the fact that, even now, a lot of people really aren't quite sure why Obama is winning.

That includes plenty of conservatives, too, who are practically insane with frustration over what's going on. After all, they've pulled out all the usual stops. They've called Obama a traitor, a radical, an appeaser, a terrorist lover, an Israel hater, and a socialist. And that stuff usually does the trick. So what's wrong this time? . . . [read on]

Obama is often painted in the blogs as an ultra-cautious soft-seller of the progressive message, prone to compromises and sudden lurches to the middle. And that may be true. But as Matt Yglesias points out, his proposed agenda, if he is elected, is the most radical we’ve seen in a generation
He’s running on a platform that promises universal preschool, dramatic cuts in carbon emissions and investments in clean energy infrastructure, health
insurance that would be affordable for all, comprehensive immigration reform, substantial labor law reform, large new spending on K-12 initiatives, and tax reform to make the federal code much more progressive overall. Is it as left-wing as what John Edwards ran on in the primaries in 2008? No. But it’s much more robustly progressive than what John Kerry offered in 2004, what Al Gore offered in 2000, or what Bill Clinton offered in 1996, and somewhat more ambitious than the Clinton ‘92 program. Presumably, that entire agenda won’t actually be enacted.

But if it were enacted, it would be the most dramatic shift in national policy since the high tide of the Great Society. . . . [read on]

Oops! She did it again
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.
[Wolf Blitzer, CNN] Wolf Blitzer: And this just coming into the "Situation Room," the Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin now speaking out openly about her intentions in 2012 if, if she and John McCain were to lose this contest next Tuesday. . . . Clearly, leaving open the possibility that she would be interested in leading the Republican Party in 2012 if she and John McCain were to lose this presidential contest right now. Let's go to Dana Bash. . . .

Dana Bash: I just got off of the phone, Wolf, with a senior McCain adviser and I read this person the quote and I think it is fair to say that this person was speechless. . . .

Wolf Blitzer: I am not surprised, not surprised at all. It is one of those "wow, she is talking about 2012 if we lose," that is not supposed to be something that you say. You are supposed to say, "well, I'm not looking ahead, I'm not looking ahead only to Tuesday," and those are the talking points she's supposed to be saying . . .

Palin, clearly setting herself up for 2012

But Palin probably doesn’t have a national future – here’s why

Palin’s awkward relationship with the teleprompter

Everyone in the chattering classes likes to bemoan “negative ads” or “attack ads.” But there’s an obvious distinction to be made between an ad like this . . .

. . . and an ad like this

They’re both pretty rough. But one uses accurate quotes to skewer a candidate’s self-contradictions. The other one lies to fabricate what a candidate never said. The press would do us a favor by making these differences clear. Attacks or "negative ads" based on corruption, incompetence, hypocrisy, or inconsistency are, to my mind, perfectly fair game

No, YouTube is not McCain’s friend

McCain’s negative coattails

McCain’s junior Senator from Arizona sticks in the shiv
"Who knows whether or not an Arizonan will run, but unfortunately, I think John McCain might be added to that long list of Arizonans who ran for president but never were elected."

-- Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

It’s what they do
[John Judis] What I look for is whether Obama is getting 50 percent or more in national and swing state polls. If there is a Bradley effect in this election, it will take the form of undecided voters going overwhelmingly for John McCain--not of voters who said they were for Obama turning out to be closet McCain supporters. In 1982, the Field Poll of October 27 showed Democrat Tom Bradley ahead of Republican George Deukmejian by 47 to 41 percent. Deukmejian won by 49 to 48 percent. The disparity was probably due to underestimating the rural turnout (in opposition to a gun control initiative backed by Bradley) and to undecideds breaking sharply for Deukmejian. In the 1989 Virginia gubernatorial race, black Democrat Doug Wilder didn't do as well as the polls predicted, but here, too, most pre-election polls had him leading with less than 50 percent. So if Obama is at 50 percent or better in the polls, Obama supporters can take heart.

I mention the Bradley effect because I think, too, that McCain and Sarah Palin's attack against Obama for advocating "spreading the wealth" and for "socialism" and for pronouncing the civil rights revolution a "tragedy" because it didn't deal with the distribution of wealth is aimed ultimately at white working class undecided voters who would construe "spreading the wealth" as giving their money to blacks. It's the latest version of Reagan's "welfare queen" argument from 1980. It if it works, it won't be because most white Americans actually oppose a progressive income tax, but because they fear that Obama will inordinately favor blacks over them. I don't doubt that this argument will have some effect, but I suspect it's too late and that worries about McCain and Republican handling of the economy will overshadow these concerns. . . . [read on]
[ABC News, calling a lie a lie] Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin went beyond her running mate's recent attack on Sen. Barack Obama -- inaccurately claiming that Obama called the lack of "redistributive change" during the civil rights movement a "tragedy" -- and used Obama's 2001 interview to insinuate that he wants to re-write the U.S. Constitution and appoint radical Supreme Court justices and judges who would confiscate the property of American citizens. . . . [read on]

You’re hearing an awful lot about the video tape that shows Obama with Rashid Khalidi (and isn’t it convenient that we’re suddenly hearing about this tape in the final days of the campaign). But here’s what they don’t tell you: McCain has ties to Khalidi too

You know what? This isn’t okay . . .
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed. . . .

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions. . . .

. . . but this is worse
Little -- if anything -- is known about a mysterious GOP donor, Shi Sheng Hao, who has given over a quarter million dollars to John McCain's campaign and the RNC. Hao's residence, occupation and current whereabouts are all unknown. But here's what we do know: he declared bankruptcy in 1995, registered to vote after his massive donations began, doesn't live at any of his listed addresses, and eight associates and relatives of Hao have given $130,000 to the RNC since last year. Curiouser and curiouser. . . (Chicago Tribune)

What’s going to happen to Joe Lieberman after the election?


Are the polls showing a McCain comeback? (not really)

McCain is having to expend resources to protect Arizona!

But this is no time for complacency

A closer look at the “undecideds”

A closer look at the “movables”

A cross-section of voter suppression, intimidation, and disenfranchisement tactics

More “poll watchers”

The Department of Justice is busy
[Zachary Roth] Earlier this evening, a Justice Department spokesman told TPMmuckraker that the department was looking into claims of voter intimidation in New Mexico, stemming from reports last week by us and other outlets that a lawyer tied to the state GOP had hired a private investigator to question Hispanics about their right to vote.
[Dday] I'm still a little stunned that it isn't a bigger story that a sitting US President is ordering his Attorney General to intervene in a voting-rights case in Ohio - a case already decided by the US Supreme Court - just a week away from the election to pick his successor. This is attempted voter suppression at the highest levels, with the President essentially aiding an abetting the nominee from his own party. . . .

DOJ says to Bush, “No thank you”

Overview of the House races

It’s what they do (North Carolina edition)
[Eric Kleefeld] A last-minute attack ad from Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), who is narrowly trailing Democratic challenger Kay Hagan in all the polls, has the Hagan campaign accusing the Dole team of crossing the line from ordinary mud-slinging into legal defamation -- and the Dole campaign accusing Hagan of trying to deny her allegiance to the Godless atheist agenda.

Here's that ad . . .

The ad is so bad, in fact, that even Alex Castellanos - the father of attack ads, the man who designed Jesse Helms' legendary "white hands" ad - thinks it's beyond the pale . . . [read on]

Ted Stevens (R-AK): you’re gonna investigate ME? I’m gonna investigate YOU

Bye, Ted, we’ll miss you:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling on Ted Stevens to resign from the Senate – and warning that the longest-serving Republican senator in history will face certain expulsion if he doesn’t leave on his own first.

McConnell, locked in a tough reelection fight in Kentucky, did not call for Stevens’ resignation in his initial statement on the Alaskan’s conviction on seven federal felonies Monday.

But Republican Sens. John McCain, Norm Coleman, Jim DeMint, John Sununu and Gordon Smith and Democrat Barack Obama all called on Stevens to resign Tuesday.

And by the time a reporter from the Lexington Herald-Leader put the question to him at a campaign stop Elizabethtown, Ky., Tuesday night, McConnell was ready to say that Stevens must go, too.

The press seems to be looking past the inevitable McCain defeat too – they have their reputations to protect, after all

The Right, which controls one whole television news operation lock, stock and barrel, most of the newspapers, and nearly all of talk radio; which has dozens of well-funded thinktanks pumping out position papers and newsletters by the truckload; which dominates the televised evangelical voices and the megachurches, likes to whine when they’re losing that it’s because of media bias. They just can't get their message out. But I must say, this is a new one:


In other news:

Rough justice. Between torture, rendition, and other abuses which are still coming to light, the military tribunals down in Gitmo might see very few if any convictions

It looks as if there will be no troop agreement with Iraq
[Josh Marshall] Seems we've found one pretty clear point of contention in those negotiations between the US and Iraq over a permanent status-of-forces agreement governing US troops in the country. The Iraqis want a guarantee: no Iraq-based US troops used to attack neighbors.

Bonus item: It IS like a reality show, isn’t it?
[John Aravosis] Sarah thought John had Steve and Nicole buy her the clothes then deny it in order to set her up. Nicole said she never bought a thing, but Nicole's and John's unnamed friends said Sarah was a diva and a whack job and that it was Sarah in fact who was setting John up, just as she has all her friends before her. In today's episode, Nicole says there's a conspiracy after her and she's not even sure she'll survive! Fred, who previously criticized Nicole and wanted her fired, has now apologized. But the question remains, if it wasn't Nicole and Steve, then just who did set Sarah up?

Extra bonus item:

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It’s incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. During the crunch time of a campaign, you have open warfare between the Vice President and Presidential candidate staffers and surrogates. Everyone is looking to protect their status post-debacle, thereby making the debacle even worse! And while apparently some of these leakers are former (and future) Romney folks looking to knock Palin down as a rival – the fact is that their criticisms, and her defenses, are all devastating to McCain now
[Mike Allen] [A] top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless “diva” description, calling her “a whack job.” . . .
[Robert Draper] Almost from the very beginning, the Palin pick created tension. . . .

I’m sympathetic to Eskew and Wallace, and not just because they’re decent people. They’ve held their tongue from leaking what a couple of McCain higher-ups have told me—namely, that Palin simply knew nothing about national and international issues. Which meant, as one such adviser said to me: “Letting Sarah be Sarah may not be such a good thing.” It’s a grim binary choice, but apparently it came down to whether to make Palin look like a scripted robot or an unscripted ignoramus. . . . [read on]
[Former Romney press secretary Kevin Madden] BROWN: And, Kevin, let me go back to you quickly on this, because doesn't this all go back to the vetting process, this relatively hasty -- more than relatively, frankly -- selection process, and the fact that these people don't really know each other, she and John McCain, very well at all?

MADDEN: Right. Well, that's why I was laughing before when I saw the quote, Campbell, about when they found out that she didn't know a lot about national issues. Well, talk about closing the barn door after the cattle already got out.

(LAUGHTER) . . . [read on]
[George Stephanopoulos] The McCain campaign is definitely demoralized right now. The blame game has begun. . . [read on]
[Jake Tapper] And some Republicans are starting to now say they should have seen this coming, since Palin has a reputation for making friends who can help her and then screwing them over.

The list is long . . . [read on]
[Steve Benen] I argued a while back that adding Palin to the Republican ticket was the most ridiculous development in presidential politics in at least a generation. With each passing revelation, I feel more confident in that assessment.

When McCain aides realize Palin doesn't have the foggiest idea what she's doing or what she's talking about, what do they do? I almost feel bad for them. Almost.


Who bought Sarah’s clothes? Somebody’s trashing McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace
[Jake Tapper] Allies of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are now trying to throw McCain aide Nicolle Wallace under the proverbial bus, and as they do so those in McCain’s circle are wary of the impact on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself. . . .

Mitt Romney distances himself
Romney: Obama Win Likely . . .

Chuck Hagel too
Hagel’s unwillingness to endorse McCain is generally perceived to be a result of their ongoing disagreements over the Iraq war. But he told me that the gulf between them is much deeper: “In good conscience, I could not enthusiastically—honestly—go out and endorse him and support him when we so fundamentally disagree on the future course of our foreign policy and our role in the world.” . . .

Hagel may be the only senior Republican elected official who has publicly criticized McCain’s choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. “I don’t believe she’s qualified to be President of the United States,” Hagel told me. “The first judgment a potential President makes is who their running mate is—and I don’t think John made a very good selection.” . . . [read on]

Look at the RNC page: NO mention of McCain

Look at the Fox News page: ten mentions of Obama and Biden, no mention of McCain

The gang who couldn’t shoot straight: McCain advisor trashes McCain’s health care plan
[CNN] Younger, healthier workers likely wouldn’t abandon their company-sponsored plans, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s senior economic policy adviser.

“Why would they leave?” said Holtz-Eakin. “What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit.”

[Matt Yglesias] In other words, John McCain is promising to make your health care worse! Ooops!

I’m actually not sure if this is a “Kinsley gaffe” (where you accidentally tell the truth) or an effort at spin so desperate that he wound up pleading to an even worse offense than McCain was accused of. The individual market for health insurance really does suck. . . .
[The Obama campaign] This morning, the McCain campaign’s top economic policy advisor unleashed an October Surprise of straight talk when he finally admitted that the health insurance people currently get from their employer is ‘way better’ than the health care they would get if John McCain becomes President. ... Senator McCain has been trying to cover this up for months, but his advisor’s brutal honesty today is certainly better late than never, and it should give every American pause about electing a candidate who has proposed such radical and dangerous changes to our health care system.


McCain calls Obama a “socialist,” then advocates socialism himself
Senator Obama is running to be Redistributionist in Chief. I'm running to be Commander in Chief. . . .
[Hendrik Hertzberg] Sometimes, when a political campaign has run out of ideas and senses that the prize is slipping through its fingers, it rolls up a sleeve and plunges an arm, shoulder deep, right down to the bottom of the barrel. The problem for John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party is that the bottom was scraped clean long before it dropped out. Back when the polls were nip and tuck and the leaves had not yet begun to turn, Barack Obama had already been accused of betraying the troops, wanting to teach kindergartners all about sex, favoring infanticide, and being a friend of terrorists and terrorism. What was left? The anticlimactic answer came as the long Presidential march of 2008 staggered toward its final week: Senator Obama is a socialist.

“This campaign in the next couple of weeks is about one thing,” Todd Akin, a Republican congressman from Missouri, told a McCain rally outside St. Louis. “It’s a referendum on socialism.” . . . [read on]
[Greg Sargent] It's ridiculous, of course, to even be debating the substance of McCain's arguments. Unless McCain's plan upon taking office is to disband the entire Federal government and fire himself, McCain is a redistributionist, too. . . . [read on]
[Hilzoy] In a stunning reversal, John McCain today endorsed the redistribution of wealth . . . [read on]


Try, try again. McCain re-runs an ad that everyone acknowledged before was based on an indisputable lie
[Steve Benen] When it comes to genuine, almost pathological, dishonesty, the McCain campaign has secured a place in history. . . .


Playing the race card – you knew it was coming
Indiana Sec of State on Blacks and Dems: "Who's the Master and Who's the Slave?" . . .
Citizens United, the conservative group headed by notorious Whitewater scandalmonger David Bossie, is distributing hundreds of thousands of DVDs attacking Barack Obama's associations with Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers in newspapers in Ohio, Nevada, and Florida this week . . .

Palin: we’re behind, but we’re winning!

Why does ANYONE listen to this clown?
[Dick Morris] As Obama has oscillated, moving somewhat above or somewhat below 50 percent in all the October polls, his election likely hangs in the balance . . . .

But don't write Obama off. His candidacy strikes such enthusiasm among young and minority voters that there is still a chance that a massive turnout will deliver the race to the Democrats. . . . [read on]

Early voting: extremely heavy, strongly pro-Obama

McCain fighting on defense across the red states

Polls: tightening, not tightening?

The latest electoral map

Reviewing the Senate races

This is surely some kind of indicator: at Brigham Young University in Utah the College Democrats are as big as the College Republicans! (thanks to Bryan W for the link)

McCain could lose. . . . Arizona!

Interesting: Florida Gov Charlie Crist (passed over for McCain VP) does the right thing, extending early voting hours – which helps Obama
[Ben Smith] "He just blew Florida for John McCain," one plugged in Florida Republican just told me. . . .

Voter suppression – the last hope of the GOP

Swing that tire,0,4863692,full.story
[Maeve Reston] I had headed to the back of his bus with a small group of reporters, where as always McCain warmly motioned for us to squeeze in beside him on the couch. . . .

I asked if he agreed with his advisor Carly Fiorina's recent statement that it was unfair for some health insurance companies to cover Viagra but not birth control . . .

I had come to respect McCain's frankness and his willingness to admit he didn't always have an answer. Watching the question morph into an embarrassing "gotcha moment" for cable television, my stomach churned and my cheeks grew hot.

By July, I had covered McCain for almost seven months. I could recite many lines of his stump speech by heart, dreamed about his events at night and spent so much time scrolling through campaign e-mails on my BlackBerry that my fiance joked to our friends about the other man in my life. . . .

Over those months, McCain had artfully created a sense of intimacy with the reporters who traveled with him. . . . [read on!]
[David Gelernter] McCain asks to be judged not as a talking white paper but as a man. Of course no candidate can advertise his own moral stature; he can use weak words like "maverick" and "I have been tested," but can't quite say "I stand before you as a hero of proven nobility." On the all-important question of moral stature, McCain's friends must speak for him. They have tried, but have come up short. . . .

There is no single English word for McCain the hero, the moral entity. But in Hebrew he would be called a tsaddik--a man of such nobility and moral substance that he approaches holiness. . . . [read on]
[Liz Sidoti, veteran tire-swinger] John McCain repeatedly implores backers to "stand up and fight" these days, showing gritty determination even as many indicators point to a Barack Obama victory and Republicans engage in fingerpointing typical of losing campaigns. "Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. And we never quit," McCain declares.

A week before Election Day, the Republican is an enthusiastic underdog with what advisers say is a deep personal belief that he still has a chance to stage an upset next week. He has come back from the brink politically and personally before, and they say, he's resolved to do so again despite steep challenges. . . .

No tears for Palin – she knew what she was doing
Palin didn't have to run . . .

They’re even losing sympathy for her in Alaska

“The Palin Effect”

Keith O – Palin a “fraud”

A lot of people think Palin has a future as the leader of the Republican party. We should all hope so

Bonus item: Please, oh please, Republicans, listen to Rush Limbaugh’s plan for your future
Good Riddance, GOP Moderates . . .

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Sarah Palin goes off on the critics of her $150,000 wardrobe – and goes way off message from the McCain campaign. Her handlers are not happy
"This whole thing with the wardrobe, you know I have tried to just ignore it because it is so ridiculous, but I am glad now that Elisabeth brought it up, cause it gives me an opportunity without the filter of the media to get to tell you the whole clothes thing," she said.

"Those clothes, they are not my property. Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I'm not taking them with me. I am back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska. You'd think — not that I would even have to address the issue because, as Elisabeth is suggesting, the double standard here it's — gosh, we don't even want to waste our time."

Palin, however, forged on.

"I am glad, though, that she brought up accessories also. Let me tell you a little bit about a couple of accessories, didn't think that we would be talking about it, but my earrings — I see a Native Americans for Palin poster," she said. "These are beaded earrings from Todd's mom who is a Yupik Eskimo up in Alaska, Native American, Native Alaskan.

"And my wedding ring, it's in Todd's pocket, 'cause it hurts sometimes when I shake hands and it gets squished," she continued. "A $35 wedding ring from Hawaii that I bought myself and 'cause I always thought with my ring it's not what it's made of, it's what it represents, and 20 years later, happy to wear it. And then finally the other accessory, you bet I'm a gold — I'm a blue star mom. I'm wearing this in honor of my son who is fighting over in Iraq right now defending all of you."
A senior McCain adviser told CNN that those comments "were not the remarks we sent to her plane." Palin did not discuss the wardrobe story at her rally in Kissimmee, Florida, later in the day. . .

Over the weekend, sources told CNN that long-brewing tensions between Palin and key aides to McCain were on the rise.

Several McCain advisers suggested that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue." . . .

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," this McCain adviser said. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."


Palin’s latest excuse: Well, I gave back $50,000 worth. Such a grand gesture of self-sacrifice . . .
Sarah Palin has apparently returned a third of the clothing bought for her at high-end stores by the RNC. A McCain strategist said that the clothes were returned immediately due to size issues. (AP)

Now the squabble turns into a finger-pointing exercise between the McCain campaign and the RNC. Get the popcorn!

So, who is behind these back-stabbing attacks from the McCain camp? It gets more and more intriguing . . .
Former Mitt Romney presidential campaign staffers, some of whom are currently working for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin's bid for the White House, have been involved in spreading anti-Palin spin to reporters, seeking to diminish her standing after the election. "Sarah Palin is a lightweight, she won't be the first, not even the third, person people will think of when it comes to 2012," says one former Romney aide, now working for McCain-Palin. "The only serious candidate ready to challenge to lead the Republican Party is Mitt Romney. He's in charge on November 5th."

Palin doesn’t want to be “handled” – so then why doesn’t she agree to press interviews without ridiculous preconditions?

The Palin selection: what it says about McCain

[John Aravosis] Did Palin pay $900 for a spray-on tan? . . . I'm sure she'll tell us it's not really HER tan, she's just borrowing it, and will return it when the campaign is over. . .

Angry man

Country First
Dozens Of Call Center Workers Walk Off Job In Protest Rather Than Read McCain Script Attacking Obama . . .

The latest Obama “scandal” – a brief quote, taken out of context, from some comments in 2001


Obama’s “Closing Argument” speech – very effective

In this election, we cannot afford the same political games and tactics that are being used to pit us against one another and make us afraid of one another. The stakes are too high to divide us by class and region and background; by who we are or what we believe. . . [read on]


Big crowds, small crowds – the Obama/McCain difference is dramatic. But the McCain people pooh-pooh the significance,0,2445504.story
During a sparsely attended rally in Albuquerque, McCain appealed to his Western neighbors for support . . .

Despite clear skies and comfortable temperatures, it was a small turnout—one that could be measured in the hundreds—for a presidential campaign event this close to the election. An Obama event at the University of New Mexico later in the day drew what his campaign estimated was at least 45,000 people. . . .

McCain's campaign, meanwhile, downplayed the importance of crowds.

"If campaigns were won or lost based on crowd size, Barack Obama's crowd of 200,000 in Berlin would've made him chancellor of Germany," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded.

Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser, said 1,400 people went through security to get to the Albuquerque event. And he said it costs a lot of money to build large crowds — money the McCain campaign doesn't have.

More contradictory nonsense from the McCain campaign: Obama is a “socialist,” but he’s also Herbert Hoover (thanks to Mark D.)

Hmmm. . . . McCain brags about his endorsement by five former GOP Secty’s of State. Obama’s got Powell. Where’s Condi? (MIA, again)

The polls: some tightening, but Obama lead holding strong

Bringing back Wright (they said they wouldn’t, but you knew they would)

Another Obama assassination plot


Ted Stevens (R-AK), guilty on all counts
[Digby] Has there ever been a more perfect coda to the corrupt, big money Republican rule than the conviction of Ted Stevens on all counts? . . . [read on]

Another GOP Senate seat lost?

Sarah Palin, speaking out forcefully against corruption
"This is a sad day for Alaska and a sad day for Senator Stevens and his family," she said . . .”

Head of GOP Senate re-election committee decries the “toxic atmosphere” for Republican candidates
[John Ensign, R-NV] “There's no question the top of the ticket is affecting our Senate races and it’s making it a lot more difficult,” Ensign said on MSNBC. “It’s a fairly toxic atmosphere out there with the financial crisis for Republicans.”

Mitch McConnell (R-KY), GOP Senate Minority Leader, is in BIG trouble back in Kentucky. Now he’s reduced to this childish, pathetic trick. Read on

After the victory: what will Obama do?

The next Sect’y of the Treasury?

More possible cabinet posts:

After the defeat: re-positioning the GOP as the “Party of Reagan” (again)


The end of the Atwater/Rove era?

Voter suppression, across the country





New Mexico:

Bush’s final list of pardons: could be a long one

Where is the bailout money going?
[Paul Kiel] The Treasury Department’s capital injection program is well underway, with more than $150 billion total now promised to around 30 banks. So far, the evidence suggests many of those banks will use the cash to buy up weaker banks. . . . [read on]

Bonus item: The McCain/Palin squabble, represented with puppets

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***