“13 days” in October determined the fate of the world in 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis. There are 13 days left to determine the fate of this election. As it was then, the coolest, smartest, and most measuredly decisive side will prevail.
** NEW CALIFORNIA POLL. The new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll shows Barack Obama leading John McCain in the Golden State, 56% to 33%, the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 trailing, 44% to 52%, the redistricting reform Proposition 11 leading, 41% to 34%, and the parental notification on teen abortion Proposition 4 narrowly ahead, 46% to 44%. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s job approval rating has gone back up to 47%. I’ll have more in the morning.
** END OF DAY (BEFORE THE CALIFORNIA POLL COMES OFF EMBARGO TONIGHT): I’ll have more to say about this, obviously, but I’ve been in touch with top national Republicans and here is my (their) read.
Barack Obama, absent the biggest surprise in modern American political history, is the next president of the United States, with Sarah Palin acknowledged as a notably unsuccessful pick by John McCain. Republicans will lose 5 to 8 seats in the U.S. Senate. Republicans will lose 30 seats or more in the House of Representatives.
** HERE’S A QUESTION: NAME THE CALIFORNIANS WHO’VE BEEN NAMED NATIONAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER OF THE YEAR. Picking up on the previous item … There are five California-based political consultants who have been named Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants. Who are they? A couple clues. They include three Democrats and two Republicans. And all but one has been a major figure in campaigns for or against Arnold Schwarzenegger.
** DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER MARK MELLMAN DEFENDS STEVE SCHMIDT. Writing in the Washington insider publication The Hill, Democratic pollster Mark Mellman – who helped consultant Gale Kaufman and others defeat all four of Arnold Schwarzenegger ballot measures in 2005′s Year of Reform – today defends John McCain campaign director Steve Schmidt. As Mellman points out, Schmidt was named Campaign Manager of the Year for 2006 by the American Association of Political Consultants for helping resuscitate Schwarzenegger’s political career after the 2005 shellacking that Mellman helped administer. The behind-the-scenes fingerpointing about the state of the McCain campaign, and the Republican effort nationally, is accelerating.
There is a big story coming out in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about all this. I have the story now, but it hasn’t been published yet. Mellman’s column gives more than a few hints about the state of play.
** VIRGINIA, NEVADA, OHIO, NORTH CAROLINA POLLS: OBAMA IN THE LEAD. The new Time/CNN polls of four key battleground states won by President Bush show Barack Obama leading John McCain. In Virginia, it’s Obama, 54-44. In Nevada, it’s Obama, 51-46. In Ohio, it’s Obama, 50-46. And in North Carolina, which few believed would be a battleground state, it’s Obama, 51-47.
One thing that’s going on is that McCain’s attacks on Obama are not getting much traction. Most voters in these key battleground states are familiar with the attacks linking Obama to ex-domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and controversial activist group ACORN, some of whose workers (who get paid bounties for registrations) have turned in fake voter registrations. But the number of voters in those states who say they are troubled by these charges is about the same as the core support for President Bush.
** CALIFORNIA POLL RESULTS COMING UP. I’ll have some key California polling results late today.
** PALIN SAYS MCCAIN SUPPORTS RIGHT-WING SOCIAL AGENDA, ELECTION OUTCOME WILL BE GOD’S WILL. In a radio interview with far right Christian fundamentalist leader James Dobson, Sarah Palin said this morning that John McCain has privately told her that he supports planks in the national Republican platform pushing a constitutional amendment to ban all abortion (including in case of rape and incest), a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and opposing embryonic stem cell research.
McCain has previously taken contrary positions, though he was silent on the passage of these planks at the Republican national convention at which he was nominated for president.
Is Palin ignorant of what McCain believes? Has McCain changed his positions? Is this another gaffe?
Palin also said this: “It also strengthens my faith because I know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4.”
** WISCONSIN POLL: OBAMA BY 11. In the new Research 2000 poll of battleground Wisconsin, it’s Barack Obama 52%, John McCain 41%. Obama has a 59% approval rating to McCain’s 43%, so there is no room for growth in McCain’s campaign in the Badger State. I believe that McCain is still running TV ads there, but is stretching out an existing buy rather than investing more funds.
NOTE: There appear to have been some intermittent site problems with the underlying PJM server.
“I’m Joe the Plumber.” John McCain’s brand-new TV attack ad against Barack Obama continues the theme I discussed at the beginning of the week.
** TV AD WARS: MCCAIN’S JOE THE PLUMBER CAMPAIGN (SERIOUSLY). With two weeks to go, it looks like John McCain is going with Joe the Plumber as the advertising centerpiece of his campaign. Still. That seemed in question to me yesterday, as the fellow’s vogue of last week is already fading. But it may be, that absent some fantastic new character attack against Barack Obama, it’s the campaign’s best shot left at attempting to drive an economic message. Talk about your “mad men.”
So McCain has flickery ads with grained-up up the footage, with a message making it sound like Obama will raise everybody’s taxes. I guess that’s what they think they have to do to punch through when Obama is out-gunning them 4 to 1 on the air. You can see one version of a Joe the Plumber ad above, and one below.
McCain has lately been playing that Joe the Plumber card hard, invoking him more than running mate Sarah Palin, who polls show has become a liability outside the conservative Republican base. That means scaring voters about Obama and his “socialist” policies, as McCain put it the other day, as a big tax-and-spender. But in this environment, most voters probably want government to spend in order to stimulate the economy and provide more of a safety net. So the success of this tack depends on the McCain campaign’s ability to convince people that Obama would raise their taxes, and not the taxes of rich people and corporations. … From yesterday’s column.
Barack Obama’s new attack ad describes John McCain as “erratic” and “careening” on the financial crisis.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Richmond and Leesburg, Virginia. The presidential frontrunner is trying to lock down longtime red state Virginia in his long quest to become the first Democrat to carry it since 1964. He’s meeting with top foreign policy and national security advisors in Richmond.
Joe Biden is in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The Democratic running mate spends a second day in Colorado, a top Democratic target in their new Western strategy, which Republicans may be giving up on.
John McCain is in Goffstown, New Hampshire and Green and Cincinnati, Ohio. McCain is trying to hang on to New Hampshire, but it doesn’t look good. Ohio, on the other hand is a battleground state he can win.
Sarah Palin is in Findlay, Green, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the LA area today, mainly around First Lady Maria Shriver’s annual California Women’s Conference in Long Beach. Schwarzenegger will participate in a discussion with legendary investor Warren Buffett – once the former action superstar’s chief economic advisor – on the epic financial crisis and the state of the economy. The discussion will be moderated by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, host of Hardball.
Other participants lined up by Shriver include Secretary of State Condi Rice, U2 frontman Bono, former British First Lady Cherie Blair, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
The conference runs from 8 AM to 7 PM.
** INSIDE THE “BRADLEY EFFECT.” Barack Obama has won all three presidential debates over John McCain. He has a solid lead in the polls. What could go wrong for him? Well, many say the polls could be wrong, skewed by a hidden racist vote.
The “Bradley effect” — the notion that white voters lie to pollsters when a black candidate is in the race — has become widely known. But what you think you know from the campaign that gave rise to the phrase, then Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s ultimately near-miss race for governor of California in 1982, isn’t so.
I was in the middle of that, doing opposition research for Bradley’s campaign. I vividly recall election day that November, as reports from the exit polling done by California’s leading polling organization, the Field Poll, circulated. It seemed that Bradley, the first black mayor of Los Angeles, was headed for a big win as California’s first black governor. … From my Friday Huffington Post column.
** THE “MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE” FANTASY: PARANOIA AND IRONY ABOUND. “He’s … an Arab.” It’s perhaps fitting that last week ended that way for John McCain — face to face, embarrassingly, with an angry supporter sputtering about Barack Obama — given that he began it with a speech playing to the deep swamp of fevered innuendo about Obama as a “Manchurian candidate” out to seize the presidency and take down America. …
The Manchurian candidate ugliness began reaching critical mass over two years ago. That’s when it became apparent that Obama could be the figure of the future in American politics. …
Produced in 1962, The Manchurian Candidate is a darkly satirical view of far right politics in America. It was made with the encouragement of President John F. Kennedy, who was all too aware of the dangers of the paranoid style in American politics, starring his good friend Frank Sinatra, as Sinatra himself recounted in a 1988 documentary on the making of the film. … From my Wednesday column.
Russia, Iran, and Qatar have agreed to form a “Gas Troika.” The three nations control over 60% of the world’s natural gas reserves.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading in the $68 to $69 per barrel range. It’s anticipated that there will be an OPEC production cut on Friday to preserve profit margins in the face of the global economic slump.
Deutsche Bank issued a forecast over the weekend that crude oil will trade at $60 per barrel in 2009 amidst a possible “major global recession.”
The drop of $78 per barrel since the record high three months ago comes on acknowledgment that the weak US economy will cut future demand and the easing of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium in the oil market.
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