Election 2008

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  Military Says It Set Rules For Obama Hospital VisitJuly 25, 2008 22:49 Bad move by the Obama team not to follow through with this visit...
U.S. military authorities told advisors to Barack Obama this week that he could not bring press or campaign staff on a visit to wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan at a hospital in Germany, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

After advisors learned of the restriction, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee canceled his scheduled visit Friday to the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell cited a military directive that activities "reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the [Defense Department] with a partisan political activity" should be avoided.

  Hispanic Voters Prefer Obama Three To OneJuly 24, 2008 23:47 Hispanic voters prefer Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his Republican opponent John McCain by nearly three to one, according to a survey released Thursday.

Latinos also prefer Obama’s views over McCain’s on specific issues, such as education, jobs, healthcare and immigration., according to the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan organization that researches the growing U.S. Hispanic population.

The national survey of 892 registered Hispanic voters found that nearly a third of the voters said Obama’s race would help him win their vote, while nearly a quarter said McCain’s race would hurt him.

Obama’s surge is denting gains that Republican President George Bush made in this voting bloc during the 2004 election against Democrat John Kerry, said Jim Riddlesperger, a Texas Christian University political science professor.

"If this trend holds, Obama is doing 13 percent better than Kerry did, and at this point McCain is doing 21 percent worse than Bush did," he said
  Young Republicans Worry About Mccain'S AppealJuly 24, 2008 09:30 At a town hall meeting in Ohio this month, a student told McCain that Republicans were a dying breed on his campus.

"I understand the challenge I have, and I understand that this election is really all about the people of your generation," McCain said.

Many young Republicans said Sen. Barack Obama -- the 46-year-old junior senator from Illinois -- is inspiring voters their age, but McCain -- the 71-year-old senator who has been in office since the early '80s -- is not.

Eric Pearlmutter, a member of the Young Republicans at the University of Southern California, said the roaring enthusiasm that follows Obama is missing among conservatives his age.
  Mccain: A Dukakis-In-A-Tank Moment?July 23, 2008 11:47 The New York Times' Maureen Dowd points out a visual contrast this week that's going to be remembered for some time. "The image of John McCain in a golf cart with Bush 41 in Kennebunkport — with Poppy charmingly admitting that they were ‘a little jealous’ of all the Obama odyssey coverage — was not a good advertisement for the future, especially contrasted with the shots of Gen. David Petraeus and Obama smiling at each other companionably in a helicopter surveying Iraq. (Asked by a Democratic lawmaker a while back why there weren’t more Democrats in the military, General Petraeus smiled slyly and said ‘there are more than you think.’)"

In a separate piece, the New York Times’ Stanley also writes on the visual contrasts. "It wasn’t a television blackout of John McCain; it was worse: split-screen contrasts that at times made it seem as if Barack Obama was on a state visit while back home his opponent chafed at the perks and privileges of an incumbent commander in chief."

More: “While Mr. Obama was shown striding across military tarmacs and inspecting troops standing at attention, Mr. McCain on Monday was seen being driven around in a golf cart by former President George Bush in the resort town of Kennebunkport, Me. Later, the two men spoke to reporters side by side at a waterfront, and they looked more like fellow members of a Past Presidents’ Club than a party elder passing the torch to his political heir.”
  Mccain Opinion Article Rejected By New York TimesJuly 21, 2008 16:40 Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign said on Monday a McCain opinion article about Iraq offered to The New York Times as a rebuttal to Democrat Barack Obama had been rejected.

The McCain camp had submitted the article to The Times as a response to a piece by Obama published by the newspaper last week.

"My Plan for Iraq" had detailed Obama's goal of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in 16 months if he is elected on Nov. 4.

The McCain article was largely a critique of Obama's position, arguing against establishing a set timetable for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.

McCain is attempting to make sure his voice is heard while Obama picks up headlines with a visit this week to Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and Europe.

"During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be 'very dangerous,'" McCain wrote.

An e-mail sent to the McCain staff by a Times editor said it would be terrific to have an article from McCain but that the one sent in was not acceptable as currently written and that a new draft should articulate how McCain defines victory in Iraq.

  McCain Adviser: US is ‘Nation Of Whiners’July 10, 2008 15:31 Barack Obama ridiculed a John McCain economic adviser Thursday who said the United States has become a “nation of whiners” suffering from a “mental recession,” as McCain distanced himself from the remarks.

Phil Gramm, who now is the No. 2 at the Swiss bank UBS, told The Washington Times the U.S. has benefited from globalization but most Americans are misguided by constant reports that the economy is at its worst in 30 years.

“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” Gramm, a former Texas senator, told the newspaper, adding that the presumptive Republican nominee will face an uphill battle fighting those perceptions.

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in ‘decline’ despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy.”

Gramm later told a cable network that he was calling the country’s leaders whiners, not the American people as a whole, but stood by his “mental recession” remark.

Obama, speaking about economic security to a women’s group in Fairfax, Va., said Gramm’s comments show the McCain campaign has no remedy for the nation’s economic woes.

“This comes after Senator McCain recently admitted that his energy proposals … will have mainly ‘psychological’ benefits. I want all of you to know that America already has one Dr. Phil. We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy,” he said.

“Let’s be clear, when people are struggling with the rising costs of everything from gas to groceries, when we’ve lost 438,000 jobs over the past six months, when the typical family has lost $1,000 in income … since George Bush took office … this economic downturn is not in your heads.

  Medicare Pressure On RepublicansJuly 07, 2008 20:52 Senate Democrats have scheduled a Wednesday vote on Medicare, aimed at enhancing discomfort for politically vulnerable Republicans who voted against the same bill before the July Fourth recess.

It is unclear that the result will be any different — an identical measure fell one vote short on June 26 — but the political benefit of pitting GOP lawmakers against seniors and doctors seems to be enough for Democrats, at least for now.

Still, the politics won’t help doctors stave off pay cuts, which are scheduled to go into effect next week.

“Senators will get a second chance to do the right thing on Medicare,” said Max Baucus , D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The bill to be voted on in the Senate (HR 6331) was passed overwhelmingly by the House, and it is based on legislation originally written by Baucus.

Wednesday’s Senate vote — likely a cloture vote only — will come after a recess week when outside lobby groups, specifically physicians’ associations, have tried putting pressure on GOP senators who voted against the House bill in an effort to flip at least one of them.

But despite those efforts, there’s no firm evidence yet that any Republicans intend to actually switch sides.
  New Group Linked To G.O.P. Unveils Ad Attacking ObamaJuly 06, 2008 22:20 A newly formed Republican group broadcast its first commercial Sunday in four battleground states as part of a $3 million advertising campaign aimed at Senator Barack Obama.

The advertisement opens with images of gasoline prices flying upward at the pump as a narrator says, “Record gas prices, a climate in crisis.” It then highlights Senator John McCain’s differences with his own party on energy policy.

The commercial closes by summing up Mr. Obama’s positions on energy as “just the party line,” a reference to his opposition to suspending gas taxes or drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as he and other Democrats contend that a McCain presidency would represent a third Bush term.

In response to the advertisement, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, Hari Sevugan, said in a statement: “What we need to solve our energy crisis is an honest debate about the choices before us, not more attack ads that mislead voters about the facts.

“There’s a real choice in this election between John McCain’s promise to continue the Bush approach of trying to drill our way out of our energy crisis — which even he admits won’t lower prices this summer — or Barack Obama’s plan to provide meaningful short-term relief for our families and to make a historic investment in alternative energy development.”

The new group, led by Brad Todd, a consultant who worked on the campaign of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, began broadcasting the commercial Sunday in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with plans to put it up elsewhere.
  Platform To Be A Hot Topic For Gop ConservativesJuly 06, 2008 21:01 Conservative activists are preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain before this summer's GOP convention in St. Paul, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party's official declaration of principles.

McCain has not yet signaled the changes he plans to make in the 2004 Republican platform. But many conservatives say they fear wholesale revisions could emerge as candidate McCain seeks to put his stamp on a document that is currently a paean to the policies and principles of President Bush.

"There is just no way that you can avoid anticipating what is going to come. Everyone is aware that McCain is different on these issues," said Jessica Echard, the executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum. "We're all kind of waiting with anticipation because we just don't know how he's going to thread this needle."

Moderate leanings

McCain has spent the last year and a half trying to straddle the philosophical schism in the modern Republican Party. During the GOP primaries, he stressed his conservative credentials, but since clinching the nomination, he has often reminded voters of his more moderate stances while also professing his fealty to conservative positions.

A platform fight at the convention threatens to disrupt that carefully choreographed effort by highlighting the stark differences in vision for the party separating McCain from some of the GOP's most dedicated activists.
  Kerry Says Mccain Lacks Judgment To Be PresidentJuly 06, 2008 20:57 John Kerry says Republican John McCain doesn't have the judgment to be president.

If that's the case, then it's probably a good thing McCain rejected overtures from Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, to form a bipartisan ticket and run with Kerry as his candidate for vice president.

Kerry had no kind words for his Senate colleague Sunday, accusing McCain of poor decision-making on everything from backing tax cuts for the wealthy to making support for continuing the U.S. military presence in Iraq the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

"John McCain ... has proven that he has been wrong about every judgment he's made about the war. Wrong about the Iraqis paying for the reconstruction, wrong about whether or not the oil would pay for it, wrong about Sunni and Shia violence through the years, wrong about the willingness of the Iraqis to stand up for themselves," Kerry, who supports Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"If you like the Bush tax cut and what it's done to our economy, making wealthier people wealthier and the average middle class struggle harder, then John McCain is going to give you a third term of George Bush and Karl Rove," the Massachusetts senator added, echoing an Obama campaign talking point.

Kerry later said the McCain of 2008 isn't the McCain he courted in 2004.

"John McCain has changed in profound and fundamental ways that I find personally really surprising, and frankly upsetting. It is not the John McCain as the senator who defined himself, quote, as a maverick, though questionable," Kerry said. "This is want-to-be president John McCain. The result is that John McCain has flip-flopped on more issues than I was even ever accused possibly of thinking about."