Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Have a great holiday season!
Monday, November 3, 2008
I've set up a fledgling new discussion board and will be transitioning there over the next week or so. I will be posting editorials, news articles of interest and random thoughts, and members of the board will be able to not only respond to my comments but start their own threads as well.
Membership is by invitation only and limited to those whom I feel would be worthy contributors. If you've followed AABW for a while and are interested in joining, please read this FAQ and the follow the directions at the end.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I enjoy expressing my thoughts here at Blogspot, but I don't really like the format much. The format is cumbersome, and the commenting feature is crude. More than that, I don't really like being in such a "one-way-only" mode of communication.
As a result, I've set up a fledgling new discussion board and will be transitioning there over the next week or so. I will be posting editorials, news articles of interest and random thoughts, and members of the board will be able to not only respond to my comments but start their own threads as well.
Membership is by invitation only and limited to those whom I feel would be worthy contributors. If you've followed AABW for a while and are interested in joining, please read this FAQ and the follow the directions at the end.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Rasmussen: Obama +4
CNN: Obama +7
InsiderAdvantage: Obama +9
Marist: Obama +6
AP-GfK: Obama +9
Rocky Mtn News: Obama +12
National Journal: Obama +4
Quinnipiac: Obama +2
Rasmussen: Obama +4
Strategic Vision: McCain +2
CNN: Obama +5
Miami Herald: Obama +7
PPP: Obama +2
Rasmussen: McCain +3
Selzer: Obama +0.6
Survey USA: Obama +4
Research 2000: Obama +1
Howey-Gauge: McCain +2
Big Ten: Obama +9.5
Rasmussen: Obama +1
Research 2000: Obama +1
CNN: McCain +2
Mason-Dixon: McCain +1
PPP: Obama +1
Rasmussen: Obama +2
CNN: Obama +6
AP-GfK: Obama +2
National Journal: Obama +4
Rasmussen: Obama +4
Research 2000: Obama +5
CNN: Obama +7
AP-GfK: Obama +12
Suffolk: Obama +10
Quinnipiac: Obama +9
Rasmussen: Obama +4
Strategic Vision: McCain +3
SurveyUSA: Obama +4
PPP: Obama +7
U. of Cinc: Obama +3
CNN: Obama +7
Quinnipiac: Obama +12
Strategic Vision: Obama +7
SurveyUSA: Obama +12
Mason-Dixon: Obama +4
CNN: Obama +12
Rasmussen: Obama +7
Rasmussen: Obama +4
PPP: Obama +9
SurveyUSA: Obama +9
ABC/Post: Obama +8
CNN: Obama +9
VCU: Obama +11
Mason-Dixon: Obama +2
Marist: Obama +4
Doesn't look too tight to me, especially when you consider that nearly every one of these was a red state in 2004. Obama only needs to pick off one or two of these to win; McCain needs to pretty much run the table.
And just for fun, I should also point out that McCain is now up only by the low single digits in both Georgia and even his own home state of Arizona.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
U.S. Economy Contracts as Consumers Cut Back SharplySecond:
By DAVID LEONHARDT 41 minutes ago
The economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.3 percent in the third quarter, as personal consumption spending fell for the first time in 17 years.
By JAD MOUAWAD 10:36 AM ET
In what might be the high-water mark for corporate profits, Exxon Mobil reported quarterly income of $14.8 billion as oil prices hit a record this summer and gasoline soared.
They have served their masters well.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, on a “demoralized” McCain campaign: “Palin is going to be the most vivid chapter of the McCain campaign's post-mortem. … Those loyal to McCain believe they have been unfairly blamed for over-handling Palin. They say they did the best they could with what they got.”November 5th is going to be fun. And nobody deserves it more than the GOP.
***In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless “diva” description, calling her “a whack job.”
There is still hope for the nation.
Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.
Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger."
Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says. The call center is called Americall, and it's located in Hobart, IN.
"We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting."
This worker, too, confirmed sacrificing pay to walk out, saying her supervisor told her: "If you don't wanna phone it you can just go home for the day."
It is not the same, and the reason comes down to attitude -- whether the decision is made on the basis of a positive or negative orientation.
First of all, we must recognize that the vast majority of blacks have voted Democrat for decades. Second, the Republicans and McCain have run a campaign that has nothing in it to appeal to urban or black voters, further emphasizing a shift to Obama on their part. And third, there has been overt racism on the part of the right. But my point goes beyond that.
In an ideal world, people would choose candidates solely on the basis of their policies and character, not other attributes, but we don't live in an ideal world. Many people will give preference to a candidate because they identify more with him or her, or because they perceive a natural link based on background or geography.
Choosing someone for these sorts of reasons may not be the way I'd like it to be, but at least it is being made out of a positive association. There's a big difference in choosing someone because you are excited about supporting someone like yourself, and voting against someone because they are different than yourself.
This happens all the time in politics and nobody even pays attention to it. For example, one of the "conventional wisdoms" in picking a VP has always been to choose someone who can "help carry a state". Why should this even be a factor? Because people like to vote for a "local boy/girl". So we saw a big spike in McCain's polling in Alaska when Palin was chosen (some don't realize that Obama had been competitive there up to that point, not that it mattered much.) This is done because of local pride and identification reasons. It may not be entirely rational but it's nothing nefarious.
We see similar things in other respects as well. For example, people were urging McCain to choose Lieberman as his running mate in part because his religion would appeal to Jewish voters in the swing state of Florida. We've also seen VPs chosen because of their age -- the Biden choice is arguably partially in this camp. And of course, there's the appeal to women angle of choosing a woman VP like Palin, or some of the support Hillary Clinton had.
Voting against a candidate on the basis of these factors is an entirely different matter, because it is based not on positive feelings such as pride or excitement but rather on fear, hatred and resentment. Voting for a candidate because he comes from your home state is not the same as voting against a candidate because he comes from a state you don't like. Voting for a woman because you are excited about a woman being elected is not the same as voting against a woman
because you don't want a woman elected. And voting for someone because you feel association with his race is not the same as voting against him because of race.
Are some black supporters of Obama racist? Almost certainly true. I would imagine that part of the increase in turnout to support him consists of blacks who would vote for a black candidate but not a white one. But I believe this is a very small number. Remember that blacks have, ever since they were granted the right to vote, had no choice in this regard -- they have always voted for white candidates. I can understand them being excited about the chance to support oine of their own for a change.
A nearby solar system bears a striking similarity to our own solar system, raising the possibility it could harbor Earth-like planets.
Epsilon Eridani, located about 10.5 light-years from our sun, is surrounded by two asteroid belts that are shaped by planets, astronomers at SETI Institute and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced today.
But it's the possibility that currently undetected smaller planets could lie within the innermost asteroid belt that make the solar system intriguing to astrobiologists.
"This system probably looks a lot like ours did when life first took root on Earth," said SETI's Dana Backman, lead author of a paper on the 850-million-year-old star that will appear next year in The Astrophysical Journal, in a release.
Images at the link.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The Mormon (LDS) church has always come under attack from both the left and the right because of its somewhat odd beliefs and customs, but I've always been a staunch defender. The main reason is that Mormonism has always struck me as the sort of religion that focuses on the positive. In particular, I greatly admire their strong family orientation, and their focus on personal and community preparedness. I've also noticed that with the exception of one atypical individual, I've never met or encountered a member of the LDS whom I did not think was a good person. And while they evangelize, they don't push their beliefs on others.
In short, I don't care if they believe in Native American angels and gold plates and "magic underwear" or whatever else. That's their business. They seem like decent people who care about their families and they don't get involved in the negative aspects of religion. They also mostly stay out of politics.
Or at least, they did until now.
It turns out that Mormons are largely driving California's Prop. 8, which seeks to make gay marriage illegal in that state, and are coming under (deserved) criticism for this. From where I stand, this puts the LDS at odds with its traditional message, and casts its lot with Christian fundamentalists who see their role as being not merely to use religion to bring themselves up, but to hold others down.
Some have speculated that the LDS is doing this to try to get more support from right-wing Christians who don't think they are "Christian enough". If so, then they are making the same mistake that John McCain made in picking Sarah Palin -- abandoning the middle. While the LDS may care more about what other Christians think than what a heathen like myself does, there will be consequences for them deciding to get involved in this issue.
And the other Christians will never accept them anyway.
Now, with a looming global recession, the price of crude oil has plummetted over 50% in just a few weeks. I was in Pennsylvania over the weekend, where I saw gasoline prices as low as $2.49.
This is great news in the short term, but very bad news in the long term, because it means America is going to collectively go right back to sleep on the energy issue. It has utterly disappeared from the presidential campaign and from media awareness. But it hasn't disappeared from reality.
The dropping oil price is one of the silver linings of the recent economic collapse, but we must use it as an opportunity rather than imagining that it means the underlying issues have gone away. While some of the oil price rise was overshoot due to speculation, it is also clear that it is now overcorrecting in much the same way. And regardless of price, we still have a dwindling resource sought by a growing population.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I listened rather intently during the 2000 campaign as well, but largely stopped following him when he became far less interesting and much more of a right-wing robot than he was when he started. But I still consider him a "bellwether" to some extent and like to turn on his program from time to time.
Well, that's become quite amusing in recent days, as he reveals -- rather unwittingly -- just how scared and desperate the Republican mainstream has become of how badly McCain is losing this election. Every time I tune in now, it seems all he can do is shriek hysterically about how the "drive by media" is biased against Republicans, and the Dems are "stealing the election" and how his listeners should ignore any poll that doesn't show the race a dead heat. ("It's close! It's close!")
The more shrill he becomes, the better the news is for the more rational among us. His non-stop backpeddalling and attempts to justify his racist comments about Colin Powell are also quite hilarious.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
McCain and Palin are running the worst, most vile, sickeningly divisive campaign in recent memory. They deserve the defeat they will have earned in two weeks. McCain deserves the utter destruction of his former honorable legacy. And all of America has been done a huge favor by having exposed to them the hate-filled rot that is all that remains of the GOP.
This sample is an ironic illustration of the art of photography. It was taken as I was driving from one region to the next because I was unhappy with the color. It was foggy and the sun broke through as I was driving on a busy interstate. Undaunted, I pulled over and snapped a few images in the freezing 27F temperatures, as other drivers looked at me in undoubted confusion.
It looks like I used some sort of Photoshop filter on it to make it appear like a painting, but I didn't....
My only mild surprise was just how thoroughly damning Powell's comments are about McCain. Having someone that well-regarded and respected say out loud what so many have been privately thinking -- that's devastating to McCain's rapidly imploding candidacy.
Oh, and the nasty comments from right-wing pundits directed at Powell -- no surprise there of course. These people reveal their true nature on a daily basis.
The water carriers of the Right--particularly Fox News, bloggers on townhall.com, and the dozens of talk radio hosts who call themselves Conservative--have always been biased. But as McCain has fallen farther behind in the polls their shows and blogs have become cesspools of hatred, anger, lies, distortion and vitriol which are liberally spewed on Democrats, Obama, and anyone who would vote for either.Can't say it better than that. We need two good parties to choose from.
In their passionate determination to vilify Obama and the Left, they have ignored the fact that the most devastating critiques of McCain and Palin have come from their own ranks. Conservatives and Republicans such as Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, George Will, and Christopher Buckley have all expressed their disgust with McCain's selection of Palin, his gutter campaign tactics, and his lack of the temperament, judgment, and ability to be president.
This is not just about politics or an election. This has become a Holy War with these guys. My longtime friend Dennis Prager told me last year that unless I had learned to loathe the Left, then I had learned nothing from him in the 20 years I have regarded him as a teacher. He recently wrote a column on townhall.com in which he explains the difference between people on the Left and people on the Right. Apparently being a pluralist or an independent--trying to learn from all people--is no longer an option.
This latest descent completes the utter destruction of the Republican party as a force for good in this country. Until eight years ago, Republicans had a deserved reputation for being more socially and fiscally conservative and responsible. When the party culture became infected with the Bush/Rove/Cheney virus, it began to morph into a divisive force that possessed none of those qualities.
Now the mass exodus is underway. Anyone who is fiscally conservative can't call himself a Republican anymore. Anyone who is a religious Christian can't honestly be part of this since Jesus preached about caring for the sick and the poor--not about eliminating reproductive choice or issues related to same-sex marriage. There's nothing Christian about the agenda of the Religious Right--it's a totally political movement focused on issues that Jesus never mentioned and they ignore the issues about which Jesus preached constantly.
I hope the recent meltdown will set the stage for a revival of something we all need now more than ever--a viable intelligent alternative to complete control by the Democrats. As much as I like Obama, the thought of either party having that much power still scares me. Reed and Pelosi scare me much more than Obama does. I think Obama is smart, presidential, and will surround himself with smart, good people.
It's time for a change.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
His campaign is, tragically, becoming all too reminiscent of how fascist dictators have gained power
in decades past.
Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan echoes the disgust being felt by everyone but McCain's fellow mobsters:
There was always going to be a point of revolt and panic for a core group of Americans who believe that Obama simply cannot be president - because he's black or liberal or young or relatively new. This is that point. As the polls suggest a strong victory, the Hannity-Limbaugh-Steyn-O'Reilly base are going into shock and extreme rage. McCain and Palin have decided to stoke this rage, to foment it, to encourage paranoid notions that somehow Obama is a "secret" terrorist or Islamist or foreigner. These are base emotions in both sense of the word.
But they are also very very dangerous. This is a moment of maximal physical danger for the young Democratic nominee. And McCain is playing with fire. If he really wants to put country first, he will attack Obama on his policies - not on these inflammatory, personal, creepy grounds. This is getting close to the atmosphere stoked by the Israeli far right before the assassination of Rabin.
For God's sake, McCain, stop it. For once in this campaign, put your country first.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
"Some in the mainstream media are saying that well we're taking the gloves off unfairly. No. You know there are only, what, 26 days to go. We gotta start getting answers to these questions that are paramount here so that voters have a choice in front of them that is based on truthfulness and candor. They deserve it."When's your first press conference, you snarky, hypocritical bitch?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Anyway, after watching and thinking on it, a few random thoughts:
1. The town hall format sucked. This wasn't a debate, it was like two separate but interwoven press conferences. The lack of interaction between the candidates made this a complete bore, even worse than their first debate. And of the 60,000 or millions or whatever of questions that were supposedly asked, Brokaw (or whoever) chose some rather remarkably unremarkable ones.
If this is what McCain had in mind with all his whining about Obama wanting to do town halls, I'm glad Obama refused.
2. Like the first debate, there was no clear cut winner here in terms of content. But Obama was far more commanding as a stage presence. This was a gross miscalculation on the part of the McCain camp in their assumption that McCain would beat Obama in a town hall style forum -- his body lanuage compared to Obama's makes him come across as small, frail and impatient. His pacing and wandering also didn't help him.
3. Tie goes to the leader. Obama didn't really hit the ball out of the park but he didn't have to. McCain did, and he wasn't close on anything approaching a knockout punch, just like the first debate.
4. All the people who thought McCain was going to really come out attacking Obama forgot how difficult it is to get away with this when your opponent is sitting right there and there's a live audience. McCain was wise not to try.
5. The "that one" comment was the only faux pas of the evening. And I'm not just reacting to what pundits have said about it -- I was rather surprised at the moment it happened. I don't see any racist undertones to it as some have suggested, rather, it just underscores McCain's lack of respect and consideration for his opponent.
6. McCain wants to let everyone refinance their mortgages? What happened to the party of personal responsibility and fiscal responsibility? Where are the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to do this going to come from?
7. Obama's answer on Russia was his low point of the evening. He was rambly and uninspiring.
8. Asking if something is a "right, a privilege or a responsibility" is nonsensical.
9. Obama should have responded directly to McCain's accusations about the former wanting to "fine" people with respect to his health care plan. I just assumed that was a distortion but Obama didn't clarify it, which left me thinking that McCain must have hit a nerve.
10. Every time McCain says "I know how to get bin Laden", more people ask the obvious question: "If you know, why haven't you helped the current administration get him now?"
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The ad has the announcer begin a sentence with a quote from Obama in the middle:
(Announcer) "He says our troops in Afghanistan are..." (Obama) "...just air-raiding villages and killing civilians..."The announcer then says "How dishonorable" (using the same whiny voice that makes me cringe whenever I hear it).
What did Obama really say? This:
"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there"He wasn't saying we are JUST air-raiding villages, and he wasn't criticizing the troops at all so much as saying they needed more help.
McCain knows this. He's a liar and the one who really is dishonorable.
McCain is unfit to be president and unfit to even be a U.S. senator. Worse than that, he's a loathesome scum-sucking piece of shit of a human being. And so is anyone who supports or condones his behavior.
I encourage all right-minded, forward-thinking people to adopt "Hussein" as their middle name for the month of October. Take a stand against stupidity and bigotry.
Charles Hussein Kozierok
I only disagree with his choice of tense: they are already complicit and have been for weeks.
Until governor Sarah Palin gives a full press conference, it seems to me that the cable news outlets should stop running her stump speeches in full on television. The deal is: candidates get to broadcast their message if the press get to question them thoroughly. That's how real democracy works - give and take. What the Palin-McCain campaign wants is all give and no take: an indirect propaganda filter and the outrageous precedent of no press conferences in presidential campaigns. This is an assault on democracy. It is closer to Russian or Georgian democracy than American. If cable news continues to enable this chilling process, they will become complicit.
They are not the same.
The Ayers smear is entirely guilt by association. It isn't saying that Obama did anything wrong himself, just that he associated with someone who had an unsavory past.
The Keating affair, in contrast, is not guilt by association -- it is guilt by McCain's own actions, his own often-admitted wrongdoing and poor judgment.
Furthermore, one cannot make a credible argument that Obama's past association with Ayers has any bearing on how he would conduct himself in the future, nor that it has any relevance to critical issues concerning America. The Keating business is a reflection on how McCain conducts himself, and it is entirely relevant to the current situation because deregulation was at the core of both crises.
But hey, we gotta appear "balanced" at all costs, right? Well, except for Fixed News, of course.
McCain had said that racially explosive attacks related to Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are off limits. But Palin told New York Times columnist Bill Kristol in an interview published Monday: "I don't know why that association isn't discussed more."
Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."...
The reception had been better in Clearwater, where Palin, speaking to a sea of "Palin Power" and "Sarahcuda" T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. "One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)
"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.
When do they break out the white sheets and the burning crosses? Well I guess they need to save something for the next three weeks too.
Monday, October 6, 2008
That would have been the sensible approach, but it appears that sense has now completely fled from his entire crew. Instead of playing this down and trying to turn it into a strength, they have chosing to lie about the matter, pretending that it wasn't really that important, it was a political smear job and that McCain did nothing wrong.
Of course, by doing this, they have:
- Directly contradicted McCain's own well-documented words;
- Undercut much of McCain's image as a "maverick" who became a reformer because of past transgressions; and
- Worst of all, made this old scandal into news by trying to rewrite history, thereby ensuring thousands of more people learn about it.
John McCain was training in his AD-6 Skyraider on an overcast Texas morning in 1960 when he slammed into Corpus Christi Bay and sheared the skin off his plane's wings.Lots more at the link.
McCain recounted the accident decades later in his autobiography. "The engine quit while I was practicing landings," he wrote. But an investigation board at the Naval Aviation Safety Center found no evidence of engine failure.
The 23-year-old junior lieutenant wasn't paying attention and erred in using "a power setting too low to maintain level flight in a turn," investigators concluded.
The crash was one of three early in McCain's aviation career in which his flying skills and judgment were faulted or questioned by Navy officials.
In his most serious lapse, McCain was "clowning" around in a Skyraider over southern Spain about December 1961 and flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout, according to McCain's own account as well as those of naval officers and enlistees aboard the carrier Intrepid. In another incident, in 1965, McCain crashed a T-2 trainer jet in Virginia.
In today's military, a lapse in judgment that causes a crash can end a pilot's career. Though standards were looser and crashes more frequent in the 1960s, McCain's record stands out.
"Three mishaps are unusual," said Michael L. Barr, a former Air Force pilot with 137 combat missions in Vietnam and an internationally known aviation safety expert who teaches in USC's Aviation Safety and Security Program. "After the third accident, you would say: Is there a trend here in terms of his flying skills and his judgment?"
A recent study by the Human Behavior Evolution Society, as reported in LiveScience, found that higher levels of testosterone correlate with riskier financial behavior. Men with more testosterone make riskier investments than those with lower levels.
To be specific, men with 33 percent more testosterone than average fellows invested 10 percent more of their dough. Men with manly facial features invested 6 percent more than their round-faced peers.Higher risk can pay off. Another study shows that traders make more dough on days when their testosterone levels are at their highest -- when they take bigger gambles.
So hey, why not put the ladies in charge? They certainly couldn't do any worse.
Americans are tired of puppet leaders like John McCain who are controlled by "message Nazis". And that's why McCain is going to lose.Retained in a summer shake-up intended to right McCain's faltering campaign, Schmidt, 38, quickly put his stamp on the operation, aggressively attacking Democratic nominee Barack Obama, often with biting ridicule, and vying to dominate every day's news cycle.The effort peaked with the choice of Palin as McCain's running mate. Convinced that McCain needed a dramatic gesture to make the race competitive, Schmidt pressed McCain to pluck the Alaska governor from obscurity.
Other than the candidates, no one in the operation has more riding on that decision than Schmidt. And no one has worked harder to turn the decision into a success.
Under Schmidt, the campaign is a tightly run operation. Previously, McCain allowed reporters almost unfettered access. Under Schmidt, the candidate went 40 days without a news conference.
Schmidt's hard-nosed determination to control the slightest detail is irksome to some members of McCain's staff. One senior aide referred to Schmidt as "message Nazi."
Then again, the more she does this, the more the veneer is eroded off her "hockey mom, apple pie" image. As it should be.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
This should be interesting. I remember some months ago when Obama said that if McCain and company wanted to start in with the past associations thing that the Keating Five would be raised, and here it is.
I can already predict the response from McCain: a combination of his usual fake indignation, and an attempt to tug at the heartstrings of the stupid by talking about how that was all "in the past" and that it helped shape McCain's current "maverickitude". Shyeah.
Edit: I have no doubt whatsoever that the timing of this, right before the next debate, is intended to try to goad McCain into losing what's left of his temper.
What happened to John McCain? What happened to the man so many of us in New Hampshire have admired and respected for so long? The fierce bipartisan warrior, the straight talker, the maverick whose ideas nearly everyone found some common ground with now seems missing in action. He seems to have betrayed the very attributes that originally commended him to us and earned our earlier trust and support.
This is a man who once denounced and purposefully avoided the politics of personal destruction, having felt firsthand its painful consequences in 2000 in South Carolina, but who now wants to win at any cost. By ridiculing his opponent's commitment to public service, he has undermined the very reason we were drawn to McCain in the first place.
Even the most ardent true-believers among us must be privately shaking in their boots contemplating a heart-beat-away Palin presidency during these difficult times. When Putin acts up, who do you want whispering in your President's ear: Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?
We in New Hampshire bear some responsibility, I suppose. Thinking we had the old McCain, we gave him a decisive victory in our primary that permitted him to vanquish those challengers. But he betrayed us. If you have to say you're a maverick in your ads, it's clear you're not. The real maverick turns out to be Barack Obama, who bucked his party's establishment and whose once-lonely positions have been adopted by nearly everyone including even the Bush administration. Nearly everyone, that is, except John McCain. So what happened to him?
That's what Granite State citizens have been asking the last few months. The answer is enough to turn us blue.
Keep driving those favorables into the ground, sweetie: nobody deserves the upcoming ass-kicking more than you do, except for your fellow false-maverick. I eagerly await the second ass-kicking you'll receive when you slink back to Alaska.
Obama has denounced the radical views and actions of Bill Ayers, a founder of the violent Weather Underground group during the Vietnam era. On Sunday, Obama dismissed the criticism from the McCain campaign, leveled by Palin, as "smears" meant to distract voters from real problems such as the troubled economy.
Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, launched the attack Saturday and repeated it Sunday, signaling a new strategy by John McCain's presidential campaign to go after Obama's character.
"The comments are about an association that has been known but hasn't been talked about," Palin said as she boarded her plane in Long Beach, Calif. "I think it's fair to talk about where Barack Obama kicked off his political career, in the guy's living room."...
But while Ayers and Obama are acquainted, the charge that they "pal around" is a stretch of any reading of the public record. And it's simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts. Obama was 8 years old at the time the Weather Underground claimed credit for numerous bombings and was blamed for a pipe bomb that killed a San Francisco policeman.
Scott Rasmussen, who is a Republican and has a reputation of slightly Republican-leaning results in his polls, has shown Obama at 50-51% and McCain at 44-45% for the last 10 days. He remarks:
Forty-five percent (45%) of voters say they are certain they will vote for Obama and will not change their mind. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say the same about McCain. Thirteen percent (13%) currently have a preference for one of the candidates but might change their mind. Four percent (4%) are either undecided or plan to vote for a third-party candidate.
One way of understanding the difficult challenge now facing McCain is to consider the relatively small group of persuadable voters who could still change their mind. The Republican hopeful would have to win nearly 80% of those votes to pull ahead in the race. That’s especially challenging because most of those voters are currently leaning towards Obama. In other words, while the race is not over, McCain needs a significant--game-changing—event to win the White House. Simply doing what he’s been doing a little better will not be enough.
There’s no mystery as to why the race has moved in Obama’s direction--it’s the economy.
One of the reasons Palin has had so little opportunity to make any promises - or clarify some of her past positions, for that matter - is that the 44-year-old governor's interaction with the news media has been so carefully rationed. As of Friday, she had not given a single news conference. Her exposure has been limited to stump speeches and interviews with TV journalists Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Sean Hannity. Even in those selected settings, her freeze-up at seemingly straightforward questions - What newspapers and magazines does she read? Which Supreme Court decisions does she disagree with? - and her accentuating her state's proximity with Russia as a foreign policy credential did not suggest the depth or confidence of someone who was ready to become leader of the free world.
Her debate performance did not assuage those doubts. Time and again, her answers were incomplete or outright evasive.
Americans should not have to wait until after election day to know more about Palin's vision for a national energy policy - with follow-up questions - or myriad other matters in this period of economic crisis and overseas wars.
We know what's on the cue cards, and we know that she can deliver those points with winks and zing. Palin has said McCain never asked her to "check my opinions by the door."
It's time to let them out.
Just one more way that Americans are being given a clear opportunity to either accept the destructive politics of the past, or to move forward. The history of this campaign, I'm pleased to say, suggests that this will be McCain's final shark-jumping. Having the silly lightweight Sarah Palin launching attacks on Obama will, I think, backfire especially badly.
For his part, Obama is pre-emptively launching ads trying to illustrate this contrast, even showing an image of the top of the article referenced above.
The very fact that Sarah Palin allowed John McCain to come into Alaska and essentially take over the governor's office shows what a weak, easily-manipulated leader she is, and what a danger she represents on the national scene.
Legal issues aside, it never made sense for Palin and Colberg to put up such a fight over the investigation anyway. Palin has maintained all along that she fired Monegan for legitimate reasons. She also said from the beginning that she'd cooperate with the legislative inquiry.
With nothing to hide, what's the problem?
The McCain-Palin presidential campaign -- which has no business getting involved in the first place -- keeps holding press conferences saying the investigation is political, and that's what's wrong with it.
Of course the investigation is political. The governor is running for vice president. The Republican presidential campaign has inserted itself smack into the middle of Troopergate. And Colberg and Palin, by refusing to cooperate and telling state employees not to cooperate, have delayed meaningful results -- charging up the political atmosphere as the November election draws ever closer....
What could de-politicize the investigation?
Friday, October 3, 2008
The Republicans who are celeberating this only show just how ridiculous their ticket is, and how little they understand of the real issues and stakes here. They are certainly free to "grade on a curve" if they want, but "not being as big of a joke as she was before" is not a very good standard of success.
Voters don't grade on a curve -- they look at the whole person. And the person Palin showed us last night is one who is not ready for high office. She acted mostly like a robot reading programmed lines, and needed her crib sheet to even attempt to respond to the most basic issues. Her response on the role of the vice-presidency shows that she understands little to nothing about the Constitution.
In the real world you don't get to "cram". You don't have the luxury of reading off crib notes.
She still can't hold a press conference to answer tough questions but we're supposed to believe she's going to make critical decisions and take on Washington? Who is really stupid enough to believe this? Only people who either can't think or choose not to.
Palin's overall attitude, with the plasticky smile and goofy lines, seemed to be that leading this nation is a big joke. But she is the joke -- one that makes a mockery of McCain's claims about the importance of the job he seeks. Anyone who thinks that it's a good idea to support a candidate who bluffs her way through easy questions is not a patriot -- he or she is someone who puts winning an election ahead of the good of the country.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Well, she did "okay". And it won't matter a great deal.
No major gaffes, but it's also quite obvious that she is totally clueless, especially on foreign policy. She proved again tonight that she has charisma and she can regurgitate talking points, but that she has no depth of understanding of important issues at all.
IMO the story tonight isn't Palin -- it's Biden. He got no attention coming in, and IMO he came across as prepared, intelligent, experienced and very human.
Palin mentions appointing people of different views. Then on to the boring ramble, attacking Obama blah blah.
Closing statements. Too bored of Palin's talking points to even pay attention. Honestly. Biden was a bit more honest in speaking to the viewing audience.
Overall -- Palin did fine, Biden really connected I think.
Wow Biden just got very emotional, even choked up.
Palin with her phony smile and maverick BS again. Snore.
She's trying to make points because other politicians support McCain? Lieberman?! LOL. More rambling about bipartisanship.
Biden attacking the maverick thing. McCain voted against health care and education, etc. Nice specifics.
Asked if they had to change a view.
Biden mentioning views on assessing judicial appointments. Rather dense example, hard to understand.
Palin mentioning not vetoing certain budgets she didn't veto to get along, but says she hasn't had to compromise on anything -- so she never changed her mind on anything? How Bush-like!
Frankly, my main observation here is that Palin got all the attention going in and she is doing "okay" but Biden has been fantastic.
Same question to Palin. "Team of mavericks" so they won't agree, but then does same thing as Biden. Good tracker reaction on keeping government out of the way. But they don't respond well when she attacks Obama/Biden.
Biden talking about going forward, much better response from women.
Palin doing that nauseating "aw shucks Joe" thing. Makes me want to hurl!
Palin talking about education, talking points galore.
Ifill challenging each on earlier comments about serving as VP. Palin gets good audience reaction on a joke.
Ifill asks Palin if she agrees with Cheney on if the VP is part of the legislative branch and she mentions the Constitution is "flexible" on this? WTF? Now she's rambling about her experience.
Biden says Cheney is perhaps the most dangerous VP in history -- strong reaction from tracker. And very forcefully shows that he knows what the Constitution says.
Palin acting "aw shucks" because she's a Washington outsider. She says if you vote something you should say why (he did!) Rambling. Says she agrees with Darfur (reading off paper).
Now Biden is back on Iraq and hammering McCain, comparing him to Cheney, not Bush. Palin lamely accuses Biden of essentially lying, then switches to McCain "knowing what evil is" and back to word salad.
basically saying "nucular weapons are bad". Then rambles about rogue nations and changes subject to Afghanistan. Constantly reading off notes. She's clueless. Going on about surge principles being used in Afghanisan.
Biden says "facts matter", says the Afghan commander says surge idea won't work in Afghanistan. Now Biden is hammering McCain on arms control. Talks about Obama reaching across to pass law against proliferation.
(I gotta hand it to Biden. Must be hard to keep his cool and not get frustrated arguing with such a cluebot.)
Biden keeps hammering on McCain and Palin never calls him on anything -- not on her script. Looks really bad.
Biden refuting on facts. Emphasizing how our allies want us to talk to adversaries.
Palin is referring to her notes more and more. Talking about Israel, wants to build embassy in Jerusalem.
Biden comes across as knowing his stuff on the Middle East. Says Bush policies an abject failure.
Ifill asks Palin if she agrees, again she says "no" for two seconds, then changes subject. Smiling constantly, so phoney! Now she's rambling about change and blah blah, talking points.
Mavericks, ruffling feathers, blah blah. Pass the word salad.
Biden saying he hasn't heard about McCain's policy differences from Bush. Very strong reaction from trackers.
Biden responds that Obama's plan is consistent with Bush's, McCain is odd man out. Says McCain voted against same amendment. Good reaction from trackers on calling for timeline. Says they will end the war.
Palin stumbles responding, claims Biden is waving white flag of surrender! Bad reaction from people on this. Now spouting talking points again. "We'll go when they're ready". Etc.
Palin complimenting Biden but attacking Obama. Biden repeating again that McCain voted against funding etc. Now going on about how McCain has been wrong about the war.
Strong reaction from trackers for Biden emphasizing need to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Says Iran is dangerous but secondary.
Palin responds, reading off paper. Says Patraeus made Iraq central focus on war on terror, not McCain. Focusing on Iran, talking points about Ahmadinejad. She keeps saying "nucular". Clueless.
Every time Palin attacks Obama the trackers drop. People just don't seem to buy much that she says.
Biden flatly says it is man made. Attacking McCain on alternative energy.
Aside, Biden's "women" tracker is consistently higher than his "men" tracker. For Palin, often opposite. Example: Palin says "drill baby drill" with a cute smile -- the "women" tracker dives. They do NOT like her schtick.
Same-sex benefits now. Biden supports, says no difference between same sex and hetero in Obama admin. Says it is supported in Constitution.
Palin hedges against it, but emphasizes "tolerance". She's talking about her "diverse" family and friends. Trackers like her comments about not supporting anything but one man one woman as marriage. Biden says same thing.
Palin is reading off paper! She can't even answer a "do you agree with this" question without referring to her notes!
Every time Palin mentions McCain the tracking lines dip into the negative. Palin now going on about what she did in Alaska.. virtually no response from the trackers.
Palin asked what she would take off the table, she says nothing, negative reaction from trackers. She blames Obama for supporting bill helping oil companies.
Palin gets asked a question about mortgage bill.. answers it in two seconds, then rambles talking points for 90 seconds.
Biden talking about bankruptcy help. Palin responds and completely changes subject to energy! The tracker goes as negative as I've seen all night. Recovers, they like her talking points. Is she on a teleprompter?! Ramble ramble...
Here are my comments. I'm watching on CNN which has the "uncomitted Ohio voters" live tracker which is quite interesting.
Nice intros, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden greeting each other warmly. Palin asks Biden if she can call him "Joe", very cute.
First question abut the bailout... good answers from both.
Palin is exact opposite of McCain: he never looked at the camera, she is glued to it!
Biden attacks McCain on his "fundamentals of economy strong" line. Palin responds about McCain meaning American workers (cough). Then goes on about "Maverick" nonsense again.
Question to Palin about cause of economic problems. Palin blames predatory lenders. Groan, Joe Sixpaakc and hockey moms again. She wants "strict oversight".
Biden is mostly focusing on the moderator, and attacking McCain. Pretty much ignoring Palin. Hammering on deregulation. Hits him on the deregulating health care thing.
Now Palin is responding to Biden. Claims they voted for biggest tax increases. 94 times (she says over and over). Repeats stupid lie about Obama raising taxes on those making $42,000 a year.
Biden refutes that.. attacks Palin for not answering question about deregulation. She replies openly saying she wouldn't necessarily answer the questions posed! Biden smiles. LOL
Now talking about taxes, Ifill challenges each on class warfare. Biden going about how middle class will get lower taxes.
Palin attacks on the "paying taxes is patriotic" thing. Nice coaching. :) Claims Obama's plan is "redistribution".
She's talking about McCain's health care credit plan. Her smirking, smiling style I find SO annoying.. she's so plastic.
Biden.. nice line about how people have to pay $12,000 in health care but McCain gives only $5k, calls it "ultimate bridge to nowhere"! Crowd laughs.
1. Palin's net favorability is still +11, but down from +30 three weeks ago. Her "strongly unfavorable" number is a sky-high 29%.
2. Asked if Palin has the experience necessary to serve as president if that becomes necessary, 35% said yes, and a staggering 60% said no. Three weeks ago these figures were 47% and 45% respectively.
3. Impact on voting for McCain: 23% say more likely, 32% say less likely; three weeks ago these figures were 25% and 19% respectively.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Sad to see what a despicable, loathesome creature John McCain has devolved into. He deserves to lose this campaign -- by a lot.
And there are Americans who fall for this. It's like we live in the old USSR or something.
To those who have been visiting and noticed I've been posting less of late.. I've been busy with other responsibilities for the last few days. October is a busy month for me but I'll keep in touch from time to time.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sounds great: she knows how to "win" a debate without actually saying anything of substance. Our nation really needs another leader like that, doesn't it?
Give me a break! This isn't someone who has been beset with some tragedy. She made the decision to step into this position knowing full well that she wasn't qualified. She hasn't even had the basic decency to act with any humility, openly and brazenly proclaiming her "readiness", exploiting her own children, and dishonestly attacking even when her opponents stood up for her.
She wants pity? Let her withdraw, then I'll consider it. Right now, it's the American people who deserve pity for having to endure another five weeks of her candidacy.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Democrats and Republicans have a strong collective incentive to pass this bailout, because as distasteful as it may be, the alternative is worse. But the deal is unpopular with voters, and this gives individual representatives who are facing re-election an incentive to vote against it.
I'm sure further attempts will be made to get something done, but the timing of this, only a few weeks before Election Day, couldn't be worse.
Whining aside, religious groups already have far too much power and infuence on the political process -- this is the last thing the country needs. The solution to this problem is simple: get rid of the tax exemption for churches.
Pastor Jody Hice of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Bethlehem, Ga., said in an interview Sunday that his sermon compared Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain on abortion and gay marriage and concluded that McCain "holds more to a biblical world view."
He said he urged the Southern Baptist congregation to vote for McCain.
"The basic thrust was this was not a matter of endorsing, it's a First Amendment issue," Hice said. "To say the church can't deal with moral and societal issues if it enters into the political arena is just wrong, it's unconstitutional."
At the independent Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla., pastor Paul Blair said he told his congregation, "As a Christian and as an American citizen, I will be voting for John McCain."
"It's absolutely vital to proclaim the truth and not be afraid to proclaim the truth from our pulpits," Blair said in an interview.
Because the pastors were speaking in their official capacity as clergy, the sermons are clear violations of IRS rules, said Robert Tuttle, a professor of law and religion at George Washington University. But even if the IRS rises to the bait and a legal fight ensues, Tuttle said there's "virtually no chance" courts will strike down the prohibition.
"The government is allowed, as long as it has a reasonable basis for doing it, to treat political and nonpolitical speech differently, and that's essentially what it's done here," Tuttle said.
Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk says he was “just curious” when he forwarded a chain e-mail suggesting Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is the biblical antichrist. “I was just curious if there was any validity to it,” Funderburk said in a telephone interview. “I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.”Is it too late to change our minds and let the South secede?
Americans are counting on Gwen Ifill to be objective in helping us learn as much as possible abotu Sarah Palin, since the Keystone Kops Kampaign sure as hell isn't.
Well the new Republican "strategy" with Palin, apparently, is to claim that she's really a great smart and informed gal who came across poorly because she was being too "restricted" by the campaign, and that she's going to "revive" the ticket. Whatever.
Frankly, I think the entire thing is exceedingly lame. Palin is an empress with no clothes, but that's besides the point. McCain is on the top of the ticket, and he is the one who needs to "revive" it, not Palin.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I listened to it several times, and while I am not absolutely clear what he said, the hard "C" sound is, to me, unmistakable -- I think that he said "course not" or similar. It is definitely not clear that he said "horseshit", and I think it's damned irresponsible for people to start with this sort of nonsense.
Even if it sounds like "horseshit" to some people, you do NOT make an accusation like this unless you are 100% positive, and that is not the case here. Whatever else I think about McCain, he is an experienced politician and would never do something like that.
It doesn't help Obama at all for his supporters to hand the McCain camp another piece of ammunition a la "Trig is not Sarah Palin's baby".
There's nothing wrong with recognizing that your opponent makes a good point. Voters want someone who is tough, but also someone who is classy and fair and decent. Obama came across as decent last night; McCain didn't. And that's what people come away with after they've forgotten all the words that were tossed around.
TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.Worth a full read.
Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was “more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you”. This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase “middle class” (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.
Meanwhile, voters thought that Obama “seemed to be the stronger leader” by a 49-43 margin, reversing a traditional area of McCain strength. And voters thought that the candidates were equally likely to be able to handle the job of president if elected.
McCain’s essential problem is that his fundamental strength – his experience -- is specifically not viewed by voters as carrying over to the economy. And the economy is pretty much all that voters care about these days.
EDIT: The CBS poll of undecideds has more confirmatory detail. Obama went from a +18 on "understanding your needs and problems" before the debate to a +56 (!) afterward. And he went from a -9 on "prepared to be president" to a +21.
Friday, September 26, 2008
CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.
These figures are still preliminary and could change as more respondents complete the survey. But here's what we have so far:
Forty percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-two percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-eight percent saw it as a draw.
Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight.
Sixty-eight percent of uncommitted voters think Obama would make the right decisions about the economy. Forty-one percent think McCain would.
Forty-nine percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-five percent think McCain would.
These numbers are a win for Obama, regardless of what they thought of McCain.
1. Where was Mccain's lapel pin?
2. Obama looked into the camera many times, McCain not even once.
3. McCain seemed agitated and passionate, Obama cool as a cucumber. I think both could have done better in going the opposite direction.
4. Obama did very well on Iran I thought. McCain did better on Russia.
5. Obama really blew it at the end when he didn't respond to McCain's accusations and all the "I heart veterans" stuff. No mention of the GI bill? Why not?
6. Obama clearly was trying to shift the discussion to domestic issues.
7. McCain seemed skittish but overall in control. I'm not sure if voters wondering about his recent behavior will be comforted more by the latter or worried more about the former.
8. Obama was confident and that should reassure some who were concerned about his ability to hold his own on these issues. He was nothing like what he was at Saddleback.
9. McCain spoke in old talking points far too much. In fact, when he said "Let us win" in his bracelet story, I said it along with him because I have heard it so many times.
Bottom Line: Both did fine but the net edge IMO is slightly to Obama simply because Obama had a lot more to gain here than Mccain did. There are millions of voters who want to vote for Obama but were concerned about his abilities and this should make many of them feel a bit better. This won't change any decided voters' minds either way.
of government because of recommendations. Long way to go before America is safe.
Obama: Safer in some ways. Done work in border security. Need to harden chemical sites. Risk to ports. Worry is not nuclear missile but nuclear suitcase. Spending billions of dollars on missile defence, says we need it but we need more money on preventing nuclear proliferation. Need to focus on root cause of Al Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan. How we are perceived matters, will restore our standing in the world. Less respected now. Because of things we have done, lot of work to restore sense of America as a shining beacon.
McCain: Obama said missile defence had to be proven. Still doesn't get it that if we fail in Iraq it encourages Al Qaida. His plan would lead to defence and loss of our sacrifices we've made.
Obama: Administration and McCain have been solely focused on Iraq. Bin Laden still out there. China has $1 trillion because we spent money in Iraq. Viewed everything through this single lens. Brings up veterans affairs (not really covered in this debate?) President has to have broader strategic vision.
McCain: Involved in every security challenge in last 25 years. Doesn't believe Obama has knowledge or experience and has made wrong decisions in a number of areas. Seen stubbornness before, cling to belief that surge has not succeeded. He loves the veterans and will take care of them. He has judgment to keep nation safe and secure.
Obama: Closing statement, talking to camera. Father came from Kenya because America was place to be. Must send message to the world that we are going to do what we need to do.
McCain: Knows how to heal wounds of war, and how to deal with enemies and friends.
McCain: Obama's first response was that both sides should show restraint. Naivete on Obama's part. Oil causing KGB led country. Need to bolster friends and allies. Georgia had to do with energy. Former Soviet countries concerned about Russian actions. Russia must understand that we support inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Russians are in violation of their ceasefire agreement. Poster of Putin in Georgia, they were waiting for opportunity. Watch Ukraine.
Obama: Agrees with McCain mostly, says he did reply forcefully about Russia. Was first to call for rebuilding Georgia's economy, called for $1 billion for Georgia. We must have foresight and anticipate some of these problems. In April he warned administration about Russian peacekeepers in Georgia. Need energy strategy to deal not just with Russia but also other rogue nations. We need to drill but we also need clean coal, nuclear. McCain voted 23 times against alternative energy.
Lehrer tries to move on.
McCain and Obama arguing about nuclear energy. McCain says he opposes nuclear storage, Obama says he doesn't.
Obama: He believes Republican Guard of Iran is terrorist organization. The Iraq war is what has strengthened Iran. They've funded Hezbollah and Hamas, gotten centrifuges. Our policy has not worked. We cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran, would threaten Israel, our stalwart ally. We need tougher sanctions but need help from countries like Russia and China. We need to talk to people, notion that we are punishing people by not talking to them is a mistake.
McCain: Obama said he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and (forgot??) without preconditions. Afraid Obama will give Ahmadinejad a propaganda platform. Mentions historical negotiations with China and Russia. Will sit down with anyone but has to be preconditions.
Obama: Ahmadinejad not most important person in Iran so may not be the best person. As president will meet with anyone if it will keep US safe. Kissinger, his advisor said we should meet Iran without preconditions. Doesn't mean we invite them to tea, means we don't tell them we only meet if they do what we say. Says he was called naive when he said we have to explore contacts with Iran and then Bush sent envoy to Iran discussions. In North Korea we cut off talks, and they quadrupled nuclear capacity. McCain said he wouldn't meet with the president of Spain, a NATO ally.
McCain: Says Kissinger didn't say he would approve meeting between Ahmadinejad and the president. If you meet without preconditions you legitimize comments like Israel being a stinking corpse, dangerous. North Koreans have broken agreements, have to go back to Reagan's trust but verify.
Obama: Nobody is talking about meeting without preparation. Preconditions just means we don't expect to solve every problem before we have talks. Nobody is suggesting we sit down and listen to Ahmadinejad spew insults at Israel.
McCain: (Interjects, laughing) Are we going to just let Iran say they are going to wipe out Israel and say "no we aren't"....
(Crosstalk, arguing about Kissinger.)
McCain: Won't repeat mistake that he regrets which was to wash hands of region after Soviets. Not prepared to cut off aid to Pakistan so not ready to threaten them. You don't announce strikes out loud, you work with the government. Area on border has not been governed since days of Alexander the Great. Need new troops but also new strategy. Not just addition of troops, he knows how to work with Pakistan.
Obama: Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. If the U.S. has Al Qaida lieutenants in Pakistan and they are unable or unwilling to attack we should take them out. We need to be prudent in what we say but mentions him "singing songs about bombing Iran". We alienated the Pakistani population, had 20th century mindset about dictator, wasted money, they weren't going after Al Qaida.
McCain: Responds about bombing Iran, talking about his record. When he was a new congressman in 1983 voted against sending Marines to Lebanon. Supported Gulf War I and Bosnia and Kosovo. Opposed turning force in Somalia into peacemaking force. He has a record of making tough decisions. Someone at a townhall asked him to wear her son's bracelet, she asked him to make sure his death wasn't in vain. "We don't want defeat." Hard for military to recover from failure.
Obama: Also has a bracelet. She asked him to make sure another mother isn't going through what she's going through. No US soldier ever dies in vain. Our troops have performed brilliantly. Are we making good judgments. We took our eye off Afghanistan and folks who perpetrated 9/11. Nobody is talking about defeat in Iraq. McCain has not consistently been concerned about Afghanistan, he said we could try to "muddle through" Afghanistan.
McCain: Would think he would have visited Afghanistan. Has been there and knows what needs to be done. Opposes set date for withdrawal, will cause defeat in Iraq.
Obama: First question is whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place. Stood up and opposed because of dangers, and because we hadn't finished job in Afghanistan, thought it would be a distraction. Wishes he had been wrong for the sake of the country. Lost money and lives, Al Qaida is resurgent, we took eye off ball. Should never hesitate to use military force but use it wisely.
(Subjective: Obama seems to be saying more new material than McCain.)
McCain: Next president doesn't have to address whether we should have gone in or not. Next one has to decide when and if we go and what we leave behind. Says Obama opposed surge and mentions Obama went overseas only after 900 days. Talking about Obama's committee and that he never met with Patraeus.
Obama: Proud of his VP pick, issues don't go through his subcommittee, go through committee as a whole. McCain is right that troops and Patraeus. McCain likes to pretend war started in 2007 instead of 2003. Hitting McCain on location of WMD and being greeted as liberators. Judge us on our judgment.
McCain: (looks agitated) Obama doesn't know difference between tactic and strategy. Mentions story about meeting with 680 troops, "let us win". Obama doesn't agree that we are winning in Iraq. (Obama: that's not true). Says Obama voted to cut off funding for troops.
Obama: Says McCain opposed funding for troops because there was a timetable, he opposed funding because no timetable, says they only agreed on the timetable. Does know difference between strategy and tactic. Was this wise? Raises Afghanistan, says McCain said we were successful there. Give Iraq back its country. Commanders in Afghanistan say we don't have enough troops.
McCain: Says Mullen opposed Obama's plan (Obama says not true). Iraq is central battleground. Obama's plan will snatch defeat from jaws of victory.
Presidential Debate #1 - Live Blog #3 - What Will Candidates Have to Give Up to Pay for Financial Rescue Plan
Obama seems MUCH more confident than he was at Saddleback, and far fewer "ums" and "uhs".
McCain's response back to cutting spending. Obama is most liberal senator. Get rid of ethanol subsidies. Wants to cut back on military spending. Talking about reforming contracts. Examine every agency of government, eliminate those not doing their jobs.
Lehrer: Neither of you seems to be saying what you'd give up.
Obama: Would delay energy plan but not give it up. Seems to be following McCain's lead on cutting spending. Bringing up lobbyists.
Obama accidentally said "Tom" instead of "John". Obama says he seems liberal because of opposing Bush's policies. "Google for government".
Lehrer is trying to get them to say what they will push off, they are resisting.
McCain suggests a spending freeze except for defence, veterans affairs and entitlement programs.
Obama says this is a hatchet when we need a scalpel. Says there are some programs we need. Mentions spending $10 bill in Iraq when they have $79 surplus.
McCain mentions the same points he's said before about sending $700 billion overseas, brings up energy issue again. No "drill here drill now" though. :)
Lehrer tries again.
Obama says there is no doubt it will affect how we run the country. Mentions we might make a profit as Roosevelt did in the 30s. In the short term there's an outlay, economy is slowing down and tax revenues may go down. To make tough decisions must know what our priorities are and mentions $300 billion tax cuts and leaving out healthcare is a bad choice.
McCain says doesn't want to hand over healthcare to federal government. Families should make decisions. He cuts spending, mentions $800 billion in spending from Obama. We can adjust spending around to take care of programs. Healthy economy with not raising anyone's taxes is best recipe for success. More about how he can reduce spending.
(Lehrer keeps asking about spending and so forth, what about the deficit and dollar?)
Obama: McCain, your president you agreed with 90% of the time, who presided over all this spending.
McCain: Smiling, says he hasn't been elected Miss Congeniality and has opposed president on various issues. "Maverick of the senate".
McCain talking about excessive spending, will veto spending bills, make them famous, etc. Brings up Obama's requests for earmarks.
Obama says he suspended earmarks pending review. Says earmarks only account for $18 billion, McCain is proposing tax cuts of $300 billion for the wealthy. Talks about how he wants to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.
McCain says Obama only wanted to cut the earmarks when he wanted to run for president. Says the money is all important. Says McCain is proposing $800 billion in new spending.
Obama says he will close corporate loopholes, go after companies shipping jobs overseas, talks about healthcare. Says we need earmark reform, says he will go line by line as McCain did. Said earmarks aren't enough. McCain's tax policies focus on those who are doing well.
Lehrer encourages McCain to respond directly to Obama. McCain doesn't though.
McCain says business pays second highest corporate taxes. Makes point about corruption and again talks about pork barrel spending and Obama's $932 million. Families should have $5,000 tax credit. Wants to lower taxes on everyone.
Obama focusing on camera again, saying 95% of Americans will get cut, for those under $250,000. Response on corporate taxes is that the rate is high but there are many loopholes. Says McCain will tax health benefits.
Lehrer tries to go forward. McCain raises energy bill with pork that he voted against, Obama voted for. He appears agitated. Obama tried to interject, couldn't hear what he said.
McCain keeps talking about "dividends" when he means credits I think.
McCain says Obama voted to increase taxes on people making as little as $42k, Obama immediately denies it. McCain laughing to himself.
Obama says McCain wants tax breaks for oil companies, McCain scoffing.