Gov. Sarah Palin's handling of Troopergate is getting more and more troubling. She has reneged on her pledge, made before becoming the Republican vice-presidential nominee, to cooperate with the Legislature's investigation. While stonewalling the independent inquiry, she is trying her side of the case in the press. Working on her behalf Monday, McCain-for-president operatives ripped into Walt Monegan and the legislators overseeing the inquiry.
Whatever happened to the "open and transparent" administration she promised Alaskans?
TWO BASIC QUESTIONS
What Alaskans and the rest of the country need from Gov. Palin is simple. They need an honest accounting on two questions:
• Did Gov. Palin force out public safety commissioner Walt Monegan because he would not fire her ex-brother-in-law from the troopers?
• In pursuing Gov. Palin’s concerns about trooper Mike Wooten, did she, Todd Palin or her staff improperly obtain confidential information about him?
McCAIN’S FRONTAL ASSAULT
The McCain campaign apparently fears honest answers to those questions. Monday, two campaign operatives held a press conference to stir up partisan hysteria about the investigation and assail Monegan as "insubordinate" and a "rogue."
It was the kind of full-frontal personal attack that is so common in Washington, D.C. While pledging to clean up the nation’s capital, the McCain campaign has brought Washington’s repulsive tactics here to us in Alaska. The McCain-Palin attack on Monegan left key questions unanswered.
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, working to win over Latino voters in Colorado, chanted ``si se puede,'' or ``yes we can,'' in Spanish along with an outdoor crowd in Denver estimated at more than 100,000.
Obama has a 12 percentage-point lead over Republican rival John McCain among likely voters in Colorado, according to a Rocky Mountain News/CBS4 News poll. The state hasn't picked a Democrat for president since 1992. Denver police chief Gerry Whitman estimated the crowd at more than 100,000, which campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said was Obama's largest U.S. turnout. A McCain speech two days ago in Denver drew 3,000 supporters.
With nine days to go until the Nov. 4 election and leading in most national polls, Obama today continued to hammer his central message that a McCain presidency would mean four more years of the ``failed'' economic policies of President George W. Bush. In recent days, Obama has mocked McCain's efforts to distance himself from the Republican president.
``Senator McCain said that actually he and President Bush `share a common philosophy,''' Obama said today. ``That's right, Colorado. I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk, owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common.''
McCain today outlined his differences with the unpopular president on the NBC ``Meet the Press'' program.
``I've been repeating for the last eight years that the spending was out of control,'' McCain said. ``I was the harshest critic of the failed strategy in Iraq.''
Still, McCain said on NBC that he has found common ground with Bush, 62, on other issues, such as the need for the $700 billion financial rescue plan.
This is what Sarah Palin said not long ago at a fund-raiser in North Carolina, as she once again decided she was ready to speak for America: "We believe the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all you hardworking, very patriotic, um, very pro-America areas of this great country ... those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."
Palin would later try to qualify these comments, perhaps because one of her handlers pointed out that she sounded like she came from Wingnut, Alaska, not Wasilla. But you know she meant what she said, far from the big cities about which she and John McCain keep sneering.
Only here was one more wonderful pocket of America yesterday that Gov. Palin knows absolutely nothing about, in one of those big cities, the City of New York.
Here was the building on Simpson St. in the Bronx, where Deon Taylor, a hero of New York and his country, lived before he died last Wednesday in Afghanistan.
Democrat Barack Obama portrayed Republican rival John McCain as a weak imitation of President George W. Bush on Sunday and warned a McCain White House would mean four more years of failed policies and broken politics.
"We're not going to let George Bush pass the torch to John McCain," Obama told a crowd of more than 100,000 supporters who jammed a downtown Denver park and sprawled up the steps of the Colorado state capital building.
The Illinois senator, concluding a two-day campaign swing through the crucial Western battlegrounds of Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, once again hit his favorite theme -- that Americans cannot afford four more years of failed Republican leadership.
"Just this morning, Senator McCain said that he and President Bush 'share a common philosophy,'" Obama said. "I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk."
You kinda get the feeling that Sara Palin is a liar... don'cha now?
Following a fiery introduction by "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who accused the media of being "deliberately sexist" in its coverage of Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor suggested that Barack Obama assumes he already has the election wrapped up.
"And you know that elections - they're not decided until the votes are counted," Palin said at a rally here.
"But our opponent, he sure seems, once again to be getting out a little bit ahead of himself. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that Barack Obama's inaugural address is already written."
The article Palin was referring to reported that John Podesta - who is in charge of Obama's transition team - wrote a hypothetical inaugural address for the Illinois senator in a book released last summer at a time when he was advising Obama's opponent Hillary Clinton.
"Nine days out from the election, nine days out, and yet it's already written," Palin said.
"John McCain and I, we're out here asking for your vote so we can get to work for you, and a lot of folks are still undecided. And you know, Barack Obama and I, we both have spent quite some time on the basketball court. But where I come from, you have to win the game before you start cutting down the nets."
Palin then brought up the presidential seal that the Obama campaign had made for the Democrat and the campaign's plan for Obama to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin last summer - a setting that is typically reserved for heads of state.
"Or the stadium that he's already rented out for the victory party that he has planned," she said.
But the Obama campaign has not, in fact, rented out a stadium for a victory party. Obama plans to hold his election night celebration at Hutchinson Field, at the southern end of Grant Park in Chicago.
If it were up to the nation’s newspapers to decide, Barack Obama and Joe Biden would win in a landslide. According to Editor & Publisher - a journal covering the newspaper industry - the Democrats are favored over their GOP rivals by editorial boards 147 - 57 with just nine days until E-Day.
So it was really no surprise when papers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The LA Times came out for Obama for president — but the Anchorage Daily News? Governor Sarah Palin lost the endorsement of her hometown paper - Alaska’s biggest newspaper.
The paper recognized the fact that “for the first time ever, an Alaskan is making a serious bid for national office” and all the attention that comes along with it. But - and a huge but - “it does not overwhelm all other judgment.”
The editors argue that John McCain is “the wrong choice” because of his reaction (or lack thereof) to the economic crisis and his embrace of “the extreme Republican orthodoxy he once resisted” in Karl Rove-style politics.
On the other hand, Barack Obama, they argue, brings promise to the office because he “enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand” on the economy. As for foreign policy - they say the endorsement of Colin Powell should “reassure” Americans that the junior senator is ready to be commander-in-chief.
I just have one thing to say... "SO WHAT!" Oh yeah, these people think Americans are stupid.
Republican John McCain said Sunday that one-third of the $150,000 that the GOP spent on clothing and accessories for his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and her family, "is given back."
McCain strategist Mark Salter said "about a third of it was returned immediately" because they were the wrong size, or for other reasons.
Salter's explanation was the first time the campaign has said any of the items had been returned.
Last week after the purchases at such high-end department stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus appeared in campaign spending reports filed with the government, McCain and his aides repeatedly said the clothes would be donated to charity after the election.
News of such expensive clothes offered a stark contrast to Palin's image as an average "hockey mom."
Tracey Schmitt, Palin's campaign spokeswoman, said some of the clothing was returned after the Republican National Convention in September.
The governor generally wears her own outfits on the campaign trail, Schmitt said.
"A third was returned post-convention," she said. "Many of the remaining clothes have never been worn."
Ouch Sarah! According to yesterday’s Washington Post - ABC News poll:
58% of respondents said Sarah Palin is “insufficiently experienced” to be a good president.
51% of respondents said they have a negative impression of her.
Less than 46% said they have a favorable view of Palin. This is down from Palin’s favorable number of 59% in early September.
40% of all voters had a “strongly negative” view of Palin.
Obama now has an 18% margin over McCain for the question of which candidate: “better understands the problems of people like you.”
Obama is now favored by women 57% to 41%
53% of likely voters had a favorable view of Obama/Biden, while the McCain Palin ticket received 41% for the question.
“If the election were held today,” 53% said they would vote Democratic, while 44% would vote Republican.
DAMAGING recriminations between aides to John McCain and Sarah Palin, who is being accused of "going rogue", are spilling out into public view.
Reflecting a bitterly divided campaign going into the final week of the presidential race, unnamed campaign insiders are starting to speak out in a traditional Washington game of "precriminations", where blame starts to be apportioned in the face of a likely defeat.
Ms Palin is making it obvious she is unhappy how she has been handled by her campaign staff - particularly that she has been shielded from any unscheduled interaction with journalists.
US media outlets yesterday were reporting open hostility from aides close to both candidates, some calling Ms Palin a "diva" in what will be an even more heated blame game after November 4 should Senator McCain lose.
"She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said a senior Republican quoted by the website Politico yesterday, adding that Ms Palin had already begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements on the campaign trail. CNN reported similar comments.
Politico cited four Republicans close to Ms Palin as saying she had grown frustrated by advice given to her by campaign handlers, whom supporters blame for a series of public relations gaffes.
As The Australian reported last week, Ms Palin has in the past two weeks noticeably distanced herself on several occasions from Senator McCain, a move many regard as her attempt to establish her own identity and a possible run for the White House in 2012 if Democratic contender Barack Obama wins on Tuesday week.
CNN reported a Palin associate saying the candidate was simply trying to "bust free" of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged rollout.
A widening split has developed between Sarah Palin and key campaign aides for John McCain, with one McCain adviser saying the Republican vice presidential candidate is going "rogue," two reports say today.
Some McCain sources wonder whether Palin is intentionally making public her disagreements with campaign positions, says a CNN story (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/25/palin.tension/index.html).
“She takes no advice from anyone,” CNN quotes one unnamed McCain adviser as saying. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party.”
The story cites a Palin aide or aides as saying she is just trying to “bust free” from a poorly managed campaign and take more control of her own campaign.
Meanwhile, Politico.com cites four unnamed people close to Palin as saying she is increasingly ignoring the advice of former Bush aides assigned to handle her.
Aides to George W.Bush, former Reagan White House staff and friends of John McCain have all told The Sunday Telegraph that they not only expect to lose on November 4, but also believe that Mr Obama is poised to win a crushing mandate.
They believe he will be powerful enough to remake the American political landscape with even more ease than Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
The prospect of an electoral rout has unleashed a bitter bout of recriminations both within the McCain campaign and the wider conservative movement, over who is to blame and what should be done to salvage the party's future.
Mr McCain is now facing calls for him to sacrifice his own dwindling White House hopes and focus on saving vulnerable Republican Senate seats which are up for grabs on the same day.
Their fear is that Democrat candidates riding on Mr Obama's popularity may win the nine extra seats they need in the Senate to give them unfettered power in Congress.
If the Democrat majority in the Senate is big enough - at least 60 seats to 40 - the Republicans will be unable to block legislation by use of a traditional filibuster - talking until legislation runs out of time. No president has had the support of such a majority since Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election. President Reagan achieved his political transformation partly through the power of his personality.
Gop In Blame Game Over Mccain CampaignOctober 25, 2008 13:49With despair rising even among many of John McCain’s own advisers, influential Republicans inside and outside his campaign are engaged in an intense round of blame-casting and rear-covering — much of it virtually conceding that an Election Day rout is likely.
A McCain interview published Thursday in The Washington Times sparked the latest and most nasty round of finger-pointing, with senior GOP hands close to President Bush and top congressional aides denouncing the candidate for what they said was an unfocused message and poorly executed campaign.
McCain told the Times that the administration “let things get completely out of hand” through eight years of bad decisions about Iraq, global warming, and big spending.
The candidate’s strategists in recent days have become increasingly vocal in interviews and conference calls about what they call unfair news media coverage and Barack Obama’s wide financial advantage — both complaints laying down a post-election storyline for why their own efforts proved ineffectual.
These public comments offer a whiff of an increasingly acrid behind-the-scenes GOP meltdown — a blame game played out through not-for-attribution comments to reporters that operatives know will find their way into circulation.
Top Republican officials have let it be known they are distressed about McCain’s organization. Coordination between the McCain campaign and Republican National Committee, always uneven, is now nearly dysfunctional, with little high-level contact and intelligence-sharing between the two.
“There is no communication,” lamented one top Republican. “It drives you crazy.”
The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens — whether they are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.
As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, the consummate Bush loyalist no more, has a knack for dropping bombshells.
He did it with his tell-all book about life and lies in President Bush's inner circle.
And now comes his grinning declaration, taped for a new weekend CNN show, "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News," that he has a favorite in the presidential election, and it is not John McCain.
His face lighting up as bright as his French blue shirt, it is clear what he's going to say before he opens his mouth.
"I will be voting for Barack Obama," he declares.
A watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday alleging that the Republican Party broke federal campaign laws by buying Sarah Palin and her family about $150,000 in clothes for campaign appearances.
The complaint names as defendants Palin, the RNC, Larson and other operatives associated with the RNC.
The Federal Election Campaign Act specifically prohibits expenditures for such purposes, the liberal-leaning Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in its complaint.
The group cited language in the law stating that no donated funds may be converted to personal use if the expense "would exist irrespective of the candidate's election campaign," including a clothing purchase unless it is of "de minimis value."
Murkier, however, is whether the law allows clothing purchases by a party committee, as occurred with the Palin expenses.
Jeff Larson, a Minnesota-based Republican consultant, made most or all of the purchases at high-end chain stores in Minneapolis as the Republican National Convention was ending, according to the Republican National Committee's campaign finance report for September.
He was reimbursed for amounts including $75,062 at Neiman Marcus, $41,851 at Saks Fifth Avenue, $4,902 at Atelier New York, $4,397 at Macy's and $5,103 at Bloomingdale's.
The Obama-Biden ticket has had an impressive showing so far in the race for editorial endorsements, and not just with the traditionally Democratic newspapers. The campaign has successfully changed the minds of close to 30 traditionally Republican newspapers, as we have shown in our daily update.
The Yamhill Valley News-Register (McMinnville, Ore.) is one of these papers, having recently published its first endorsement of a Democratic presidential candidate since at least 1928, when the local Bladine family gained ownership, Managing Editor Steve Bagwell tells E&O. It is possibly the first endorsement of a Democrat since the tri-weekly newspaper began in 1866.
The editorial supports the Illinois senator’s plan for resolving the war in Iraq as well as his perspective on domestic policy issues, including the slowing economy: “FDR led us out of the Great Depression, following a market collapse that occurred on the watch of his hapless Republican predecessor, Herbert Hoover. We have to place our hopes for like leadership in perilously similar times in the hands of one of two men. We place ours in the hands of Barack Obama,” the endorsement read.
Like many other papers, the News-Register cites Sarah Palin as a major flaw in the McCain campaign strategy. According to the editorial, Palin’s role as governor of a state with a population “about the size of Portland” is one of many shortcomings when it comes to being qualified to potentially lead the entire nation.
Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been photographed wearing a 'Vote Democrat' scarf at a rally in Nevada.
The photographs show Ms Palin in Reno on Tuesday wearing the scarf emblazoned with donkeys and the words 'Yes' and 'Vote'.
The donkey has become the established political symbol for the Democratic Party. Republicans are most commonly associated with the elephant.
Mr McCain's running-mate was criticised yesterday after it was revealed the Republican Party splurged $150,000 (£92,000) on her wardrobe in September alone.
John McCain's presidential campaign said thousands of dollars worth of clothing purchased by the Republican Party for running mate Sarah Palin will go to a "charitable purpose" after the campaign.
The Republican National Committee spent about $150,000 on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other "campaign accessories" in September for the McCain campaign after Palin, the governor of Alaska, joined the ticket.
The expenses include $75,062 spent at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis Minn., and $41,850 in St. Louis in early September. The committee also reported spending $4,100 for makeup and hair consulting. The expenses were first reported by Politico.com.
"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said McCain spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who has been traveling with Palin. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
Republicans were in mea culpa mode yesterday after comments in North Carolina suggesting that their supporters are more patriotic than Democrats.
At a fund-raiser in the Tar Heel state last week, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said, "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America . . . pro-America areas of this great nation."
Yesterday on CNN, Palin said she didn't mean to say some parts of the country are more pro-American than others. "I don't want that misunderstood," she said. "If that's the way it came across, I apologize."
Introducing John McCain at a rally in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Representative Robin Hayes said, "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."
Women are at a crossroads in our struggle for legal equality as a means to social equality. Having women in politics matters, but it is crucial to have the policies women need. At this moment we risk losing ground gained, but we also have the opportunity to advance. At stake in this presidential election are the federal courts.
Despite inroads, women's status remains characterized by sex-based poverty and impunity for sexual abuse from childhood on. The next president will appoint scores of lower court federal judges who will have the last word in most cases. One, perhaps three, justices may be named to a Supreme Court that in recent years has decided many cases of importance to women by just one vote. Equality can be promoted in employment, education, reproductive rights and in ending violence against women -- or not.
The equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution is stalled. The fate of affirmative-action programs that have helped open doors for qualified women of all races may be vulnerable. The scope of Congress's power to legislate -- key to what a majority of Congress can accomplish for all our people -- has become uncertain.
Existing laws essential for women's economic survival have often been regressively interpreted. Women on average remain poorer than men, largely because of unequal pay. Recently, the Supreme Court held in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc. that plaintiffs must sue as of the first unequal paycheck, when they might not even know that their pay is unequal. Barack Obama supports restoring the rule, followed for decades, that allows suit for all the wage discrimination as of the last discriminatory paycheck. John McCain opposed this in the Senate.
In addition, for reasons largely not of their own making, most women work in job categories that are paid less than men, yet are equally productive. Courts have not interpreted existing laws to guarantee equal pay for work of equal value. Comparable worth -- paying women what their work is actually worth -- would wipe out more of the pay gap, and hence women's poverty, than any single economic step.
Trailing in the polls with the election barely two weeks away, John McCain has dug deep into the Lee Atwater/Karl Rove playbook, now portraying Barack Obama as a combination of class-warfare socialist, terrorist fellow-traveler and crooked pol.
McCain also has sought to tie Obama to ACORN, a controversial grassroots organization that has been registering voters. At the third presidential debate, McCain alleged that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."
That allegation got a big boost last week when the Associated Press reported that the FBI is investigating whether “ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election.”
The AP account – attributed to “a senior law enforcement official” speaking anonymously – raced across the right-wing news media and into the political world, giving fresh impetus to suspicions that ACORN was guilty of serious wrongdoing because some registration forms used fictitious names, like “Mickey Mouse.”
The FBI’s investigative interest also seemed to validate McCain’s allegations. After all, if there was nothing to this, why would the FBI be investigating?
However, the citation of an FBI investigation as a way of instilling doubt and spreading suspicions has been used before. Indeed, it’s becoming a well-worn page in the Republican playbook.
McCain Hypocrite... Who Knew?October 05, 2008 19:44The night he officially accepted his party's nomination, just one month ago, John McCain was interrupted by a heckler.
"My friends," McCain said, "don't be alarmed by the ground noise and static. I'll keep saying it. But Americans want us to stop yelling at each other."
We will begin to find out Tuesday night in Nashville if McCain really believes that, when he and Barack Obama have the second of their three debates. We will find out if this begins the last chapter of what is supposed to be the most dramatic and compelling race in history, or simply begins the single nastiest month presidential politics has ever seen.
How did she find out about Ayers, by the way? The woman who couldn't tell Katie Couric which newspapers she likes to read finally found something that interested her in The New York Times, a paper that is supposed to be her sworn enemy. Fancy that.
Palin was barking about Obama at the same time it was being reported that McCain's campaign wants to "change the subject" from the economy to Obama's character, as if turning away from the economy could possibly happen in the financial crisis of 2008.