The Straightaway

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Posts Tagged ‘presidential election

Rep. Bachmann Calls for Hunt of “Un-American”

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Below is an excerpt from Hardball with Chris Matthews, in which Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) calls for a full media investigation into which members of Congress are “anti-American.” She also hits Obama hard on his Ayers association.

It is truly a sight to behold.

Then, watch the reaction from The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuven and MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan immediately after.

Written by acs2008

October 18, 2008 at 11:36 pm

McCain Distorts Immigration in Mountain West

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As predicted earlier, the McCain campaign is targeting the key Mountain West states (Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico), which he hopes will put him over the top in the electoral vote count. The latest attempt is a new Spanish-language commercial airing in those three states that blames Obama for the failure of the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform bill that sputtered in Congress this year.

This is false. Obama voted to pass this bill, despite its unpopularity.

Here is Barack Obama’s immigration plan, quoted directly from Obama’s campaign website:

Create Secure Borders

Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.

Improve Our Immigration System

Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.

Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally

Obama will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Bring People Out of the Shadows

Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.

Work with Mexico

Obama believes we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.

These views are in line with the bill McCain accuses Obama of killing. This ad is a clear distortion of the facts aimed at securing a key demographic in key states.

Here is the ad in Spanish. The translation is offered below.

ANNCR: Obama and his Congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they? ”

The press reports that their efforts were ‘poison pills’ that made immigration reform fail.

“The result:

“No guest worker program.

“No path to citizenship.

“No secure borders.

“No reform.

“Is that being on our side?

“Obama and his Congressional allies ready to block immigration reform, but not ready to lead.

“JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.”

Electoral Battle Plan

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In the 57 days until the 2008 Presidential Election, 12 swing states will be in the political spotlight. These twelve states and their 157 combined electoral votes will most likely decide who becomes the next President of the United States: Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Here’s a mini-profile on each of these battleground states: (Data from 270towin.com, realclearpolitics.com, and the U.S. Census Bureau)
Colorado (9 Electoral Votes)

Colorado has only gone to the Democrats once in the last 40 years, to Bill Clinton in 1992. In 2004, incumbent Republican George W. Bush won the state by only 4.7%. Sensing that this state is ripe to turn, the Democrats have made a strong push to secure it, holding their 2008 national convention in very-liberal Denver. The smashing success of the star-studded convention may very have put Colorado in the Democratic column. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +3 (Rasmussen Sept. 9)

Florida (27 electoral votes)

Everyone remembers how important Florida can be in a tight presidential election. Florida has a sizable hispanic population that is uncharacteristically Republican. The endorsement of Governor Charlie Crist (R) will surely help McCain, but the sagging economy and particularly lackluster housing market in Florida might play into Obama’s hands. Right now, Florida is truly up for grabs. Most Recent State Poll – Tie (Rasmussen Sept. 9)

Michigan (17 electoral votes)

Michigan has been solidly Democratic since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992. Before that, Michigan was solidly Republican, voting with the Elephant five consecutive times. The Republicans must be hoping that this is a re-alignment election for the state. Despite having a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators, Michigan’s working-class voters have simply not connected with Obama the way they did with Hillary Clinton. McCain hasn’t been that popular in Michigan either, getting blown out in the primary there by Mitt Romney (and if McCain had selected Romney as his running mate, Michigan would for sure be theirs). But for now, Michigan is too close to call. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +1 (PPP Sept. 8)

Minnesota (10 electoral votes)

The Republicans must have thought their long-shot chance in the state was close enough so that putting their convention in the state might put it in their column. Not likely. Minnesota over the years has been solidly Democratic, voting Republican only once, in Nixon’s 1972 landslide. In the primary, Obama won by a great margin over Clinton, while McCain finished a distant second to Romney. Officially, Minnesota is a “battleground,” but I don’t suspect the battle there will last long. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +12 (CNN/TIME)

Missouri (11 electoral votes)

Historically, Missouri tends to vote Republican, except if it’s a southern Democrat running (Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996). Obama narrowly won the state’s primary of Clinton, but McCain also won the Republican counterpart. For now, Missouri seems solidly Republican. Most Recent State Poll – McCain +10 (PPD Aug. 17)

Nevada (5 electoral votes)

Usually Republican, Nevada voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 2004, Bush edged out Kerry by only 3%. State polls have fluctuated greatly, showing leads of 5-7% for both Obama and McCain within the month of August. Libertarian Bob Barr might steal some votes from McCain in this state, although the addition of pro-life, pro-gun running mate Sarah Palin might neutralize the Barr Factor. RCP Poll Average – Obama +1 (Individual polls not reliable).

New Hampshire (4 electoral votes)

New Hampshire has long been an anamoly – a moderately Republican state nestled within the very liberal Northeast. In 2000, New Hampshire went to Bush, but in 2004 the New Englander John Kerry took the state. Obama lost the Democratic primary to Clinton, while McCain’s New primary win re-energized his almost-dead campaign. New Hampshire is still up-for-grabs. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +1 (Rasmussen Aug. 18)

New Mexico (5 electoral votes)

The key to New Mexico will be the state’s large Hispanic population (44%). New Mexico voted for Clinton twice and for Gore in 2000, but in 2004 Bush beat out Kerry by less than 1%. New Mexico is a fine “bellwether” state – in eight of the last ten presidential elections, the candidate who won New Mexico won the entire state. Obama could get a boost from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D), who supported Obama after ending his own bid for the presidency. RCP Average – Obama +4.3 (Individual polls not reliable)

North Carolina (15 electoral votes)

North Carolina has only voted for a Democratic president once in the last 40 years, for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Both Obama and McCain scored impressive primary victories in the state. A key factor in the state could be the sizable African-American population (20%). Nationally, African-Americans have voted for Obama 80% of the time. If he can get optimum turnout from these voters, he might have a small shot at taking the state. Most Recent State Poll – McCain +3 (PPP Aug. 28)

Ohio (20 electoral votes)

Ohio is the ultimate bellwether state – in each of the past 10 presidential election, Ohio voted for the eventual winner. In 2004, Ohio put Bush over the top to secure the presidency. Obama lost the state to Clinton in the primary, while McCain earned a solid victory during the Republican primary. The most recent Rasmussen poll showed McCain up by as much as 7 points. However, two separate polls in August with much higher sample sizes (hence, more accurate) shows that the race is almost even in this state. Advantage: McCain, but not by as much as he’d like. RCP Average – McCain +1.3

Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes)

Working-class voters love the Clintons. They’re not so fond of Obama, which has kept Pennsylvania in play for the Republicans. Historically, Pennsylvania leans Democrat, having voted that way in the past four presidential elections. Obama will get a boost from his running mate Joe Biden, a Scranton, PA native. However, McCain and Palin might be able to sell Pennsylvanians on social issues, if not the economy. Obama might need Clintonian aid in Pennsylvania to seal the deal but for now, I think it’s his to lose. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +2 (Rasmussen Sept. 7)

Virginia (13 electoral votes)

Virginia just might be 2008’s Ohio, the state that pushes one candidate over the edge for victory. On the surface, this might look like bad news for the Democrats – in the past 10 elections, Virginia did not vote Democrat a single time, even during the Clinton years. However, with one Democratic senator (Jim Webb) and a Democratic governor (Tim Kaine, who was on Obama’s VP shortlist), maybe Virginia is ready for some “Change.” Had Obama picked Kaine as his running mate, Virginia would probably be his. He still has a shot there, but he must campaign his butt off in VA. Most Recent Poll – McCain +2 (FOX News/Rasmussen Sept. 7)

Results – Based on these poll numbers, if the election were today, Democrat Barack Obama would win the presidency with a narrow 278-260 electoral victory over Republican John McCain.

Obama’s Game Plan – Obama has to focus on clinching Pennsylvania and Colorado. He should also campaign hard in Virginia, where an upset would seal the presidency for him. Winning Ohio might be a little too much to ask for, but Obama should make a definite effort there.

McCain’s Game Plan – McCain should campaign hard in the three Mountain West states still in play: Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. If he can take two of these, McCain will get just enough electoral votes to claim victory. Of these three states, Colorado and Nevada are particularly vulnerable. McCain should be careful not to let Ohio and Virginia out of his grasp. Taking Pennsylvania would be a definite game changer.

270 To Win!

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Stop following the “horse race” polls. National poll numbers matter little in the United States because of the Electoral College system.

270 To Win is a great web resource for all those interested in seeing which states Obama and McCain need to win the magical 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency. For the record, the website gives Obama an 84% chance of winning the right combination of states to win. After several simulations, it seems that this race will come down to Ohio (surprise!) and Virginia. Winning one or both of those states will pretty much guarantee victory for either party.

Sidenote: For months, Obama held a slim single-digit lead over McCain in the polls. Now, polls indicate that McCain is ahead by 3 points – well within the margin of error for the polls, no doubt. To demonstrate how meaningless popular vote polls are, review this statistic: in the 1960 Presidential election, John Kennedy beat Richard Nixon in the popular vote by less than .2% (49.72% vs. 49.55%). However, Kennedy cruised to a comfortable 303-219 electoral vote victory.

So, even the slightest margin in popular vote could mean an electoral landslide.

Written by acs2008

September 8, 2008 at 6:14 am

RNC Wednesday Rundown: Venom without Substance

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Click on the image to see Giulianis 2008 RNC speech.

Click on the image to see Giuliani’s 2008 RNC speech.

Rudy Giuliani‘s energetic speech was filled with direct, personal attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Giuliani kept the attacks coming all night, on anything from Obama’s experience as a community organizer to his foreign policy stances. Giuliani promoted the standard Republican line on McCain as a heroic POW war hero who is ready to lead America. Giuliani offered his own delusional foreign policy ideas, somehow managing to bring up September 11th. Again. (Surprise, Surprise!). The most effective and substantive part of Giuliani’s speech was his assertions on Obama’s flip-flopping tendences:

“They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.”

Overall, a solid, rousing speech that didn’t say much about the issues.

Click on the picture to view VP nominee Sarah Palins speech wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

Click on the picture to view VP nominee Sarah Palin's speech wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin‘s vice presidential speech, written by a former Bush speechwriter, was a smashing success inside the RNC hall. Palin established herself as a small-town mother with strong family values, which is sure to excite the evangelical conservative base. She showed that she has the potential to fill the VP-Attack-Dog role well, hitting Obama constantly and very personally.

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

and

“For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.”

Palin gave the usual inspiring rhetoric about John McCain, etc., but overall, her speech had little, if any, substance. She constantly attacked Obama’s policies, including a woefully erroneous assertion on taxes that leads one to believe that she is either a comfortable liar, or very misinformed on the issues – either would be dangerous, the former for the Obama campaign, the latter for the American people.

Palin came off as fiery but likable – her likability might allow her to get away with a lot. However, her barbs were deep and painful, some very dishonorable in a way that really contrasts with McCain’s respectful style. However, I suppose that is vice presidential politics.

Palin’s speech will galvanize true conservatives, but will do little, perhaps even repel, the independents they need to secure. Palin is quickly becoming the Republican Hillary Clinton, in the sense that she is a polarizing figure beloved by her party but absolutely abhorred by the opposition.

Babygate: Sarahpalooza Continued

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The Palin media circus continues – word has broken out that Sarah Palin’s 17-year old daughter, Bristol Palin, is pregnant. If John McCain wanted to steal the spotlight from Barack Obama with his VP pick, well, he sure is getting his wish.

Obama has already made it clear that family is off-limits in this campaign, especially Bristol and her baby. Luckily, his campaign won’t have to make it an issue – the media and everyday people are already all over it.

Really, this situation is an interesting case of broad platform policy affecting the lives of the candidates themselves. Sarah Palin, a staunch pro-life supporter, has done well to raise her daughter with her values – Bristol is keeping the baby, and will marry the father of the baby. Many socially-conservative evangelicals have been impressed by this inspiring stand of beliefs, poised to join the McCain ranks as they had declined to before.

However, this situation might very well show the failure of one of Palin’s policy stances: abstinence-only sex education. Many might take this situation to point out that if Palin’s own daughter couldn’t avoid this unplanned pregnancy and subsequent shotgun marriage, then who’s to say that the abstinence-only education works at all.

Normally, family news such as this should be kept out of politics. However, given that it so directly affects a key policy issue in this campaign, it might be alright for the media to keep dissecting this issue (as long as it is in a tasteful, constructive manner. Obviously, any personal attacks based on this would be unfair.) The fact that the story involves a key figure in the election is just an unfortunate coincidence.

The old, tired cliche says that there is no such thing as bad publicity. All this might not be bad publicity,  but it might certainly be overexposure. Remember when people were polled as saying they were tired of hearing about Obama? Well, there must be more than a few people who tired of hearing about Sarah Palin right now.