Archive: September 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

"I owe America a global apology."

-- Sarah Palin, quoted by the Huffington Post, for being on the losing ticket for the 2008 presidential election.

Archive: June 10, 2014

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I think because I really didn't have a good strategy for my campaign. I didn't plan it the right way... As a candidate who was already so well known... I don't think I ever said, 'Yes, you may have known me for eight years, but I don't take anything for granted. I have to earn your support.'"

-- Hillary Clinton, quoted by ABC News, on why she lost the presidential election in 2008.

Andrew Sullivan: "It's a pretty clear admission that she expected to be coronated last time around. Which means she might not be so cocky this time around. Might."

Archive: May 12, 2014

Bonus Quote of the Day

"If you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one."

-- Bill Clinton, as recounted by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) in his new memoir, Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, after Hillary Clinton lost the 2008 South Carolina Democratic primary to Barack Obama.

Archive: January 13, 2014

Gates Approached About Being Obama's Running Mate

Barack Obama considered former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as his running mate in 2008, Stars and Stripes reports.

Gates says in his new memoir, Duty, that he received a call from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in 2008 about the position, and answered several questions about his public stance on abortion and a few other issues.

Writes Gates: "It took a lot of willpower for me to keep from bursting out laughing. I couldn't figure out if he was serious, if it was just idle flattery, or if he was delusional ... I never told anyone, in part because I didn't think they would believe me."

Clinton's Traitor List

The Hill has an early except from HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.

"Aides on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign kept a detailed list of party colleagues who staffers believed had betrayed her during the long and bitter primary battle with President Obama...The list included rankings, with those who were considered the most egregious traitors by Clinton loyalists receiving the worst possible score of 7 on a point scale."

"Then-Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who would ultimately succeed Clinton as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, was among those receiving the blackest of black marks... So too was Kerry's Senate colleague from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009. Also on the political hit-list were Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) as well as Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Baron Hill (D-IN)."

Archive: September 29, 2013

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I still think we have way too many caucuses. They're not democratic. And unlike primaries, they have no legal enforcement. You can break the rules, nobody's going to say anything. I think there are way too many of them."

-- Bill Clinton, in an interview with ABC News.

Archive: September 12, 2013

Secret Effort to Help Clinton in 2008 Alleged

"The D.C. businessman at the center of an ongoing city corruption investigation secretly spent more than a half-million dollars on get-out-the-vote efforts for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign," the Washington Post reports.

"For the first time, the investigation has connected Thompson to a major national political figure. The investigation could have implications for Clinton, who is weighing a second run for president in 2016 and is seen as an overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination."

Archive: July 27, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I wasn't allowed to talk about things like that because those elitist, those who are the brainics in the GOP machine running John McCain's campaign at the time said that the media would eat us alive if we brought up these things."

-- Sarah Palin, on Fox News, saying she was banned by the McCain campaign from talking about Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 presidential election.

Archive: May 29, 2013

Why Palin Gets So Much Attention

Advertising executive Donny Deutsch to HuffPost Live:

"What I believe fascinated everybody about Sarah Palin, and I just know this as a marketer: she was the first woman in power that a lot of people felt was just physically attractive. And people didn't know what to do with that. They never saw that before."

Archive: April 29, 2013

Bonus Quote of the Day

"No. I think it would have been a much closer race, but I'll tell you President Obama ran a great race and that campaigns matter."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by the Huffington Post, on Vice President Joe Biden's claim McCain would have won the 2008 presidential election if not for the economic crisis.

Archive: April 27, 2013

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The truth of the matter is, Barack knows it, I know, had the economy not collapsed around your ears, John, in the middle of literally, as things were moving, I think you probably would have won."

-- Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by CNN, telling Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that he might have won the presidency if not for the economic collapse in 2008.

Archive: April 23, 2013

Obama Inaugural Took in Far Less Than Four Years Ago

President Obama's inaugural committee "raised a little more than $43 million to put on the official festivities. That was $10 million less than the amount raised in 2009 for Obama's first inauguration," the Chicago Tribune reports.

"The smaller haul came despite the fact that -- in a reversal from 2009 -- this year's inaugural committee accepted corporate donations, a decision that drew sharp criticism from campaign finance reform advocates. The 2013 committee also took individual donations of more than $50,000, unlike four years ago, and did not disclose the amount given by contributors until the report was filed with the Federal Election Commission on Saturday, three months after the event."

Archive: April 12, 2013

Did Being Black Cost Obama Votes?

A new Harvard study concludes that "racial animus in the United States appears to have cost Obama roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote in both 2008 and 2012." 

Archive: April 10, 2013

McCain Leaves Palin Out of 2008 Leftover Money

Political Moneyline: "Over $1.3 million in left funds from the 2008 presidential campaign were given to Sen. John McCain in February and March and none to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin."

Archive: March 30, 2013

Fraud Committed to Get Obama on Indiana Ballot in 2008

An Indiana woman plead guilty to forgery and fraud in a successful attempt to get Barack Obama on the presidential primary ballot in 2008, WISH-TV reports.

"At the center of this story is Butch Morgan, a longtime Democratic Party leader who lost his post as St. Joseph County chair when the scandal broke. Morgan is accused of telling three people to forge names on a ballot petition including Bev Shelton who pleaded guilty to forgery and fraud. She has agreed to testify against the others."

Archive: March 28, 2013

Cate Edwards Talks About Her Father's Affair

Cate Edwards, the eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth Edwards, spoke to NBC News about the extramarital affair that tore apart her family and destroyer her father's political ambitions.

Said Edwards: "He told me. I guess he and my mom decided that that was, you know, how it needed to be done. So yeah, I was devastated. And I was disappointed. I mean, these are my parents. I had grown up with a lot of love in my family. And it was hard to see them go through this."

The full interview will air on Friday.

Archive: March 15, 2013

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideas, as evidence by the last two presidential elections. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012."

-- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), quoted by NBC News.

Archive: January 28, 2013

Obama's Parting Gift to Hillary

Josh Green reports that a team of top Obama donors decided to surprise Hillary Clinton -- "and thank her for her loyal service" -- by raising enough money to pay off her 2008 campaign bills.

"The challenge was tougher than it may appear, since it required a particular kind of donor. In order not to run afoul of campaign finance laws, the Obama team had to find people who had not already given Clinton the 2008 maximum primary donation of $2,300 or maxed out their total federal candidate donations during the 2012 cycle ($46,200). And of course, those people also had to be warmly disposed toward Clinton and still have plenty of free cash on hand."

"In the end, it took the checkbooks of about 120 people and several months to retire the debt... And as it turned out, the Obama folks substantially overshot the mark. Clinton's campaign, which has not yet formally been shut down, now shows a surplus of about $205,000."

They've Come a Long Way

The Cloakroom: 5 moments when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton weren't so friendly.

Archive: January 26, 2013

When Did Hillary and Barack Become Friends?

The Fix: "One source close to the situation suggest that the relationship's evolution from rivals to friends stems from simply spending lots (and lots) of time together over the past four years -- particularly on foreign travel. Familiarity, in this case, bred camaraderie not contempt, it seems."

"When the detente began exactly is somewhat hard to trace although one Democrat suggested that it all started when Hillary and Bill Clinton both spoke at the 2008 party convention."

Archive: January 22, 2013

Clinton Pays Off Remaining 2008 Campaign Debt

More than four years after Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination for president, her 2008 presidential campaign is finally debt-free, Politico reports.

CNN: "A federal law known as the Hatch Act prohibited Clinton and other federal government employees from personally soliciting or accepting political contributions. The law does allow others to raise funds on Clinton's behalf, without her direct involvement. Former President Bill Clinton periodically sent out fundraising appeals to his wife's campaign email list to help retire her debt."

Archive: January 15, 2013

The Republicans' Plan for the New President

From a must-watch Frontline airing tonight: "On the night of Barack Obama's inauguration, a group of top GOP luminaries quietly gathered in a Washington steakhouse to lick their wounds and ultimately create the outline of a plan for how to deal with the incoming administration."

Archive: December 05, 2012

Lieberman Regrets Being So Negative on Obama

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told the Washington Post that he doesn't regret supporting Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for president in 2008, but if he could do it again, "I would have left out those few sentences" in his convention speech about Obama.

Said Lieberman: "It wasn't what I was really about. It wasn't necessary to what I was doing at the convention, which was to affirmatively support my friend John McCain."

Archive: November 21, 2012

Flashback of the Day

"What I've said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it ... it may not be 24-hour days, and that's what I believe. I know there's always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don't, and I think it's a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I'm a part."

-- Sen. Barack Obama, quoted by Slate in April 2008, when asked if the Earth was created in six days.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was widely criticized for dodging a similar question this week.

Archive: September 26, 2012

On Setting Debate Expectations

An instructive video clip shows Joe Biden previewing his vice presidential debate with Sarah Palin in 2008.

Archive: September 02, 2012

Romney's Speech Falls Short of McCain Audience

Nielsen data shows Mitt Romney's speech at the GOP convention averaged 30.3 million viewers, about 22% short of the nearly 39 million who tuned in for Sen. John McCain across nine networks four years ago, Variety reports.

Archive: August 06, 2012

Fewer Polls This Year

Nate Silver finds that the pace of polling in the presidential race "has fallen quite dramatically from four years ago."

"From January through July 2008, there were 558 state polls released that tested the Obama-McCain horse race. By contrast, there were only 329 through the same date this year -- about a 40 percent decline."

Archive: July 31, 2012

Did Staffing Make the Difference in Overseas Trips?

The Washington Post compares the campaign trips abroad taken by Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

"So what's the difference -- other than four years and two vastly different candidates? Here's one big distinction: the Obama campaign loaded up on staff firepower while the Romney camp had a relative ghost crew."

"For his trip, Obama got assists from at least 14 top staffers and advisors, many of whom were heavy hitters with serious foreign policy and economic credentials... Romney, on the other hand, has only three senior staffers with him for the entire trip: policy director Lanhee Chen; foreign policy aide Alex Wong; and press secretary Andrea Saul."

Archive: July 29, 2012

Cheney Says Picking Palin Was a Mistake

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News he wouldn't comment on the advice he gave Mitt Romney on picking a running mate but he was harsh in his assessment of Sen. John McCain's decision to pick Sarah Palin four years ago.

Said Cheney: "That one, I don't think was well handled."

He added: "I like Governor Palin. I've met her. I know her. She - attractive candidate. But based on her background, she'd only been governor for, what, two years. I don't think she passed that test...of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake."

Archive: June 29, 2012

Flashback of the Day

ABC News digs up video of Mitt Romney admiting in a January 2008 Republican presidential debate that the individual health care mandate he passed in Massachusetts was indeed a tax.

CHARLIE GIBSON: Governor, you imposed tax penalties in Massachusetts...

MITT ROMNEY: Yes, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don't be free-riders and pass on the cost to your health care to everybody else...

Archive: June 14, 2012

McCain Says Obama Snubbed Him

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Hill that President Obama never made a sincere effort to reach out to him after the 2008 election.

Said McCain: "Let's get real here. There was never any outreach from President Obama or anyone in his administration to me."

"McCain disputes the notion that he has rejected entreaties to cooperate with the White House because he is bitter from his defeat four years ago. He said he expressed eagerness to work with the president on immigration reform and the line-item veto, but has been left out in the cold."

Archive: June 09, 2012

A Political Career Resurrected After McCain and Palin

The New York Times profiles Steve Schmidt, who first championed Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008, a decision which is now "widely viewed as one of the most calamitous political judgments in modern presidential politics. By the time Mr. McCain conceded, Mr. Schmidt himself feared that his role in that campaign would leave an indelible scar on his reputation."

"But these days, helped in large part by the book and the movie Game Change, particularly the sympathetic portrayal of him in the film by Woody Harrelson, Mr. Schmidt has emerged from that car crash and settled into a lucrative and prominent existence that suggests he is the beneficiary of the kind of political resurrection Mr. Schmidt might have orchestrated for a beleaguered public figure.

Other advisers to Mr. McCain have scurried into obscurity. By contrast, Mr. Schmidt -- television commentator and public relations executive, delivering speeches and wisdom on the politics of the day -- has a higher profile than ever, and stands as evidence that there may be little cost to being associated with a losing campaign and a disastrous political misjudgment, as Mr. Schmidt now describes the Palin selection.

Archive: May 23, 2012

Where They Really Don't Like Obama

To explain President Obama's dismal performance in the Kentucky and Arkansas primaries last night, Alec MacGillis points us to a map that shows the regions where Obama received a smaller percentage of the vote in 2008 than John Kerry did in 2004.

"It is a virtually contiguous band of territory stretching from southwestern Pennsylvania through Appalachia and across the Upland South, finally petering out in north-central Texas. It is, almost to a T, what Colin Woodard, in his fascinating new ethnographic history of North America, American Nations, defined as the territory of the 'Borderlanders' -- the rough-hewn Scots-Irish who arrived in this country from the "borderlands" of northern Ireland and Scotland, and claimed for themselves the inland hill country, far from the snooty Northeastern elites and Southern gentry. And look more closely at the map -- where was Obama's 2008 dropoff particularly heavy? In eastern Kentucky and most of Arkansas."

"Keep in mind: this was at the peak of Obama's popularity. It was before he began his 'war on coal,' before Obamacare, before all the things that pundits will point to to explain why this part of the country is so dead set against the president."

Archive: May 09, 2012

Edwards Donor Warned Obama About Affair

A donor to former John Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign testified that he "steered Barack Obama's campaign away from considering Edwards as a potential running mate or Cabinet member because of Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter," NBC News report.

Tim Toben "said he called the Obama campaign in June 2008 after Edwards told him that he might be Obama's running mate. Toben said he warned Obama advisers because he feared that Edwards' affair would have 'destroyed' Democratic chances in the general election."

Archive: May 01, 2012

Lawmaker Says Obama Was Elected Because He Was Black

Speaking at a town hall meeting, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) suggested President Obama was only elected president because he's an African-American.

Said Walsh: "He's our first African-American president. The country voted for him because of that. It made us feel good about ourself. I've said it before, it helped that John McCain was about 142 years old. It helped that the economy was tanking. A lot of these things helped. But he never would have gotten there without his historic nature."

Archive: April 12, 2012

Flashback Quote of the Day

"You know essentially, you've taken on sort of the most sympathetic person in the candidate's realm, the wife, who is taking care of the children, supporting the husband, doing everything she can because she loves him. Michelle Obama is a pretty terrific woman I have to say, and I think that attacking her is a dumb strategy on the Republican's part."

-- Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen, quoted by the Washington Examiner, on CNN on May 19, 2008.

Last night, Rosen attacked Ann Romney on CNN saying she has "actually never worked a day in her life."

Archive: March 31, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I think the mistakes made in 2008 will have a big effect, as they should in 2012. The 2008 process was evaluated almost entirely through a political prism."

-- GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, quoted by the Washington Post, who oversaw Sen. John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Archive: March 17, 2012

Edwards Owes Treasury $2.1 Million

The FEC released a report saying John Edwards' defunct presidential campaign must repay the U.S. Treasury $2.1 million within 30 days.

The AP notes that "even though the campaign ended more than four years ago, it has kept spending money, reporting $836,712 in 2011 expenses that went to airfare, hotel rooms, and other bills."

Archive: March 15, 2012

Flashback of the Day

"The idea that the Republicans have to be organized before Labor Day or they will be out of the race I think is a fundamental misunderstanding of television, the internet, you know YouTube, all the things we now communicate with. A very exciting Republican Party that actually talked about ideas and actually had a fight over the platform based on real ideas, I think might be a more interesting party than one which nominates somebody who's boring for five months."

-- Newt Gingrich, in ABC News interview on January 13, 2008, advocating a brokered convention.

Archive: March 08, 2012

Reconnecting with 2008 Supporters

The New York Times takes a good look at how PresidentObama's re-election team "is sifting through reams of data available through the Internet or fed to it by its hundreds of staff members on the ground in all 50 states, identifying past or potential supporters and donors and testing e-mail and Web-based messages that can entice them back into the fold."

"The president's re-election base here looks more like a company than a campaign... Having spent $48 million already, the campaign invested heavily in its effort to find and reconnect with past donors and volunteers, as well as identify potential supporters, and to entice them all to engage, through small donations, say, or by volunteering for one of the thousands of neighborhood 'teams' the campaign is seeking to build across the nation."

Archive: March 01, 2012

Palin Calls Movie Fiction

Sarah Palin put out a web video to fight back against her portrayal in the upcoming movie based on Game Change.

Palin hasn't seen the film but Washingtonian thinks it's sympathetic: "In the capable hands of Julianne Moore, Palin becomes more than the caricature often painted of her; she is given flesh and bone dimension. Whether it's flattering is not the issue, really, but it is sympathetic in the context of an altogether engaging political film about a landmark race for the White House."

Archive: February 29, 2012

An Inside Look at How Hillary Clinton Lost Iowa

Just published: Defeat at Waterloo: Fighting on the Front lines of the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign by Amanda Wilkerson.

Archive: February 24, 2012

Artist Pleads Guilty in Criminal Case Over Obama Poster

Even though Shepard Fairey already settled his case with Associated Press over using their photo as the basis for his iconic Obama "Hope" poster early, the Los Angeles Times reports the artist today entered a guilty plea to related criminal charges.

Fairey was charged with criminal contempt for destroying documents and manufacturing evidence, once again proving the cover up is almost always worse than the crime.

He now faces a maximum of six months in prison.

Archive: February 23, 2012

How Obama Won

Here's a must-read: The Magic Number: Inside Obama's Chase for the Presidential Nomination by Jeff Berman, who led the effort to create and execute the delegate plan that Barack Obama used to capture the presidential nomination in 2008.

Ben Smith: "Rich in procedural detail, the book will be a textbook for the small cadre of mechanics who steer the arcane process of delegate selection. But The Magic Number also a kind of secret history of the Obama campaign and an antidote to the sweeping narratives that suggest Obama was the inevitable product of historical forces. Berman's account is the tale of the little things that could have gone wrong but didn't, and the small but crucial victories that, taken together, won the White House."

Archive: February 03, 2012

The End of Race?

Just published: The End of Race?: Obama, 2008, and Racial Politics in America by Donald R. Kinder and Allison Dale-Riddle.

The authors assert that racism was in fact an important factor in the 2008 presidential election, and that if not for racism, Barack Obama would have won in a landslide.

Archive: January 14, 2012

Thompson Denies Staying in 2008 Race to Split Vote

Fred Thompson denied to Fox News a charge by Mike Huckabee that he was urged to stay in the 2008 presidential race to help split the vote for Sen. John McCain.

Said Thompson: "There's not one shred of truth to it."

Huckabee had claimed a day earlier that ahead of the 2008 Republican South Carolina primary, McCain had "certainly encouraged" Thompson to stay in the race.

Archive: January 11, 2012

Republican Groundhog Day

Dave Weigel has a smart rundown of the striking similarities between this year's slate of Republican presidential candidates and the one in 2008.

"I'm thinking of a Republican primary. It starts with a candidate (John McCain/Mitt Romney) who ran once before, came in second place, and won over the party's elite class without winning over its base. Other candidates, understandably unwilling to accept this, line up: An under-funded social conservative (Mike Huckabee/Rick Santorum), an elder statesman who's walked to the altar three times (Rudy Giuliani/Newt Gingrich), a libertarian who wants to bring back the gold standard (Ron Paul/Ron Paul). The conservative base is displeased. In the year before the primary, it pines for a perfect candidate. At the end of summer, on (September 5/August 13), it gets him: (Fred Thompson/Rick Perry). The dream candidate immediately rises to the top of national polls, but collapses after lazy, distaff debate performances... The Republican base looks at the wreckage and shudders. It can never allow this to happen ever again."

Archive: December 18, 2011

How Times Change

Mitt Romney proudly published a letter today in the Des Moines Register from former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) endorsing him for president.

Four years ago, Romney said that Dole "is the last person I would want to have write a letter for me."

Archive: December 13, 2011

Why Romney's Campaign is Different Than Clinton's

Politico looks at the some of the similarities between Mitt Romney's campaign and Hillary Clinton's four years ago. In fact, Romney "has followed the Clinton playbook so closely, her former aides say, you'd think she won her party's nomination."

But First Read points out "three key differences: (1) Romney doesn't appear to be spending the amount of money that Clinton did. Remember, after Super Tuesday, the Clinton campaign essentially ran out of money (in large part, because it didn't anticipate a contest past then). But Romney's team has hoarded much of its cash. In fact, the main entity bombarding Iowa airwaves is the pro-Romney Super PAC, not the campaign. Team Romney has LONG planned for the LONG nomination fight; (2) Romney's camp isn't "all in" in Iowa, the same way Clinton's was four years ago. That's why Clinton's loss in the Hawkeye State was so devastating and why her victory in New Hampshire a week later was so surprising; And (3) As we mentioned yesterday, Newt Gingrich's operation isn't Obama's from 2007-2008, whether it's in fundraising or organizing."

Archive: November 23, 2011

Romney Flip-Flops on Bob Dole

Mitt Romney was asked in Iowa earlier today how he will stop the gridlock in Washington and Politico notes he "drifted into talking about Bob Dole as an 'American hero' who he'd model himself after."

Interestingly, Romney told Fox News four years ago that Dole was "the last person he'd want" in his corner.

Archive: November 17, 2011

Feds Probe Richardson Campaign

The Albuquerque Journal reports a federal grand jury is investigating whether former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) violated campaign finance laws during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid by raising money to settle a threatened lawsuit by a woman who worked in state government.

"Several people familiar with some aspects of the investigation have mentioned similarities to pending criminal charges against former presidential candidate John Edwards on allegations that his campaign supporters paid to shield the candidate from a public scandal."

Archive: October 05, 2011

Interest in Campaign Similar to Four Years Ago

A new Pew Research survey finds that public interest in the presidential campaign remains as high today as it was at this point in 2007, when there were contested races in both parties.

Archive: August 26, 2011

Where Does Ron Paul Raise His Money?

Smart Politics looks at contributions to Rep. Ron Paul's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns and finds that the same four states lead the pack in large donor per capita individual giving in both cycles: Wyoming, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Alaska.

Archive: August 06, 2011

Edwards Ordered to Repay More Than $2 Million

John Edwards plans to appeal a ruling by the Federal Election Commission that his 2008 presidential campaign must pay the government more than $2.2 million that it shouldn't have received, WRAL-TV reports.

"A recent FEC audit determined that the Edwards campaign received $2.1 million in matching funds for which it wasn't eligible. The commission also found that the campaign had $141,000 in 'stale dated checks,' which are refund checks that donors never cashed after contributing more than the legal limit, according to the audit."

Archive: August 03, 2011

Quote of the Day

"If we were domestic terrorists, I think the president would want to pal around with us. He didn't have a problem with Bill Ayers."

-- Sarah Palin, in an interview with Sean Hannity, tying Joe Biden's comments about Tea Party Republicans as "terrorists" to her controversial line of attack against Barack Obama from 2008.

Archive: July 19, 2011

Edwards May Owe $2.3 Million in Penalties

The campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards may have to pay almost $2.3 million in penalties and primary matching funds following an audit of his 2008 White House bid, Roll Call reports.

Archive: June 14, 2011

Minnesota Race Not Over Yet

"A campaign finance dust-up that roiled the final weeks of Minnesota's epic 2008 Senate campaign apparently isn't quite over," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

"Former FBI Director Louis Freeh planned to hold a news conference Tuesday to announce a new development in a dispute whether his client, Minnesota businessman Nasser Kazeminy, tried to improperly funnel $75,000 to the family of former Sen. Norm Coleman through a Minneapolis insurance company that employed Coleman's wife, Laurie."

Update: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports no charges will be filed against Coleman or Kazeminy.

Archive: June 02, 2011

Democrats Can't Relitigate 2008

presentation from pollster Stan Greenberg shows voter confidence on jobs and the economy shifting from a 38 to 46 percent advantage for Republicans to a 42 to 41 percent advantage for Democrats, but concludes that "Democrats need a forward-looking message for 2012, and can't try to relitigate 2008," according to Politico.

Said Greenberg: "Paradoxically, Democrats must forget the past and the financial crisis. That is counter-intuitive and painful because conservative policies were so destructive and Democrats did right and brave things. Voters understand this more than you appreciate, but that is at least three years ago now, and voters think a focus on that misses the country's urgent current reality. They want to serious plans, not triumphalism about jobs reports."

Archive: May 03, 2011

Flashback of the Day

"Sen. John McCain condemned Mike Huckabee Monday for saying that, as president, he would strike at terrorists inside Pakistan's borders with or without permission from the country's leadership... Sen. Barack Obama made similar comments about Pakistan in August, which McCain criticized at the time as irresponsible, as did several of Obama's Democratic rivals."

-- CNN, November 27, 2007.

Archive: May 02, 2011

McCain Opposed Going Into Pakistan

In July 2008, Larry King asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), "If you were president and knew that bin Laden was in Pakistan, you know where, would you have U.S. forces go in after him?"

McCain said he would not.

"Larry, I'm not going to go there and here's why: because Pakistan is a sovereign nation."

Archive: April 21, 2011

Cartoon of the Day


Archive: April 18, 2011

Obama Campaign Faces Audit

The FEC has launched an audit into President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Roll Call reports.

"The scope of the probe, which began approximately two years ago, is unknown. Presidential audits typically take years to complete and can cost millions of dollars."

Archive: April 05, 2011

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Some may argue that exploiting Governor Palin and her family helped bring attention to my low-rated TV show. I am proud to say you are wrong. My TV show still enjoys very low ratings. In fact, I think the Palin stuff may have hurt the TV show. Let's face it, between Alec Baldwin and me there is a certain fifty percent of the population who think we are pinko Commie monsters."

-- Tina Fey, writing in Bossypants, about impersonating Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Archive: April 01, 2011

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I expect my family and Sarah Palin to be nothing short of crucified."

-- Meghan McCain, writing for the Daily Beast, on the upcoming HBO movie based on the book Game Change.

Archive: March 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I've been made very aware about its depiction of me, and it is what it is."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by Politico, in explaining that he won't be seeing the HBO film adaptation of the book Game Change and he hasn't read the book either.

Archive: March 16, 2011

Flashback Quote of the Day

"We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah."

-- Sen. John McCain, quoted by the Chicago Tribune on October 26, 2008, referring to his presidential debate with Barack Obama.

Archive: March 13, 2011

Palin's Name Added at Last Minute

A Washingtonian profile of A.B. Culvahouse, a lawyer who oversaw the vetting of the potential vice presidential candidates for Sen. John McCain during the 2008 campaign, said the short list of vice presidential candidates consisted of Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Charlie Crist and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

"As the clock was running out, [campaign manager Rick] Davis says McCain asked to have at least one woman on the short list. His advisers went back to the long list and plucked out Palin's name."

Archive: February 24, 2011

Flashback Quote of the Day

"If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States."

-- Barack Obama, quoted by Slate, while making a campaign speech in 2007.

Archive: February 10, 2011

Four Years Ago

It's hard to believe that it was just four years ago today that then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) announced his candidacy for president in front of the State House in Springfield, Illinois.

First Read: "And it's equally striking when you consider -- as some potential GOP White House aspirants begin speaking today at the Conservative Political Action Conference -- that only one Republican so far has even formed an exploratory committee: Herman Cain. Indeed, at this same point in the '08 cycle, 17 candidates had either already declared their candidacy or formed an official committee to legally begin raising money."

Archive: February 04, 2011

RNC Top Staffer Charged Palin's Wardrobe

RNC chairman Reince Preibus will tap Jeff Larson as his chief of staff, The Ticket reports.

Though Larson was in charge of the party's 2008 convention he also gained another sort of notoriety: He provided his credit card for Sarah Palin's infamous $150,000 clothing makeover.

Archive: February 02, 2011

Romney Says He Would Have Lost Too

Mitt Romney told Piers Morgan that he doesn't think he could have beaten Barack Obama had he won the Republican nomination in 2008.

Said Romney: "John McCain ran a very good campaign. And at the time we were running, the most important issue that the country was concerned about was Iraq. And John McCain was an undisputed expert on matters related to Iraq. And that was something which augured in his favor. And I think I also spent a lot of time talking about issues which were not central to the reason I was running. But you know what, even if I had been the nominee, instead of John McCain, I probably would have lost to Barack Obama too."

Archive: February 01, 2011

Romney Says He Answered Too Many Questions

In an interview on The View, Mitt Romney suggested the problem with his 2008 presidential bid was that he wasn't selective about answering questions.

Said Romney: "The challenge that you have coming from the private sector as I did is when someone asks you a question, you answer it... the challenge I had last time was I answered every question, and sometimes, you need to say: you know, let me quickly answer that question and then get on to what's really important."

Christian Heinze: "It's the political equivalent of an interviewee saying his weakness is that he works too hard."

Archive: January 25, 2011

Giuliani's Mistake

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Rudy Giuliani looks back on his failed presidential bid in 2008.

Said Giuliani: "The basic mistake was -- I made a lot of them, but I made one big one, which was I built a national campaign. When John McCain was ahead, we were kind of like trying to catch him. We caught him and we went ahead of him. So we were the front-runner for six months, five months, whatever. But I didn't build a good enough campaign in any one state to win a primary. I had a great national campaign, a terrible primary campaign. And it should be reversed. You've got to win primaries in order to get nominated."

"So if I did it again, or for anybody else who is running, I would concentrate on figuring out how do you win Iowa? How do you win New Hampshire? How do you win South Carolina? How do you win Florida? In that order, at least one or two of those."

Archive: January 12, 2011

Lawsuit Over "Hope" Photo Settled

The Associated Press and artist Shepard Fairey have agreed in principle to settle their pending copyright infringement lawsuit over rights in the Obama Hope poster and related merchandise, according to a press release.

"The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs. The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential."

Archive: December 21, 2010

Population Shift Wouldn't Have Changed Election

Strategic Telemetry looks at the 2008 presidential election under the 2010 apportionment mandated by the latest U.S. Census population count and notes Barack Obama would have lost just six electoral votes to John McCain -- not nearly enough to change the outcome of the last presidential election.

Archive: December 20, 2010

The Bitter Fall of John McCain

Joe Klein: "I used to know a different John McCain, the guy who proposed comprehensive immigration reform with Ted Kennedy, the guy -- a conservative, to be sure, but an honorable one -- who refused to indulge in the hateful strictures of his party's extremists. His public fall has been spectacular, a consequence of politics -- he 'needed' to be reelected -- and personal pique. He's a bitter man now, who can barely tolerate the fact that he lost to Barack Obama."

Archive: November 17, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"What Todd and I learned was that the view inside the bus was much better than underneath it."

-- Sarah Palin, quoted by the New York Times, on certain McCain presidential campaign aides "who weren't principled."

Archive: November 14, 2010

Richardson Says Clinton Still Angry

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), who served in former President Bill Clinton's cabinet but then backed Barack Obama for president in 2008, told the Dallas Morning News "that he gets along great with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But Bill Clinton is another matter."

Said Richardson: "We haven't talked. He's a little sore."

Archive: November 10, 2010

Bush Would Have Backed Obama

The Financial Times reports an astonishing anecdote: In 2008, President Bush told British officials that he favored Barack Obama for president over John McCain.

"The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his successor... Trying to be even-handed and polite, the Brits said something diplomatic about McCain's campaign, expecting Bush to express some warm words of support for the Republican candidate... 'I probably won't even vote for the guy,' Bush told the group, according to two people present. 'I had to endorse him. But I'd have endorsed Obama if they'd asked me.'"

Archive: November 02, 2010

Burying Hubris

Marc Ambinder: "In 2008, a New Orleans funeral procession cling-clanged through Studio 47 here at CBS. The Republican Party was dead. It would take at least several cycles before it returned... Such hubris. So we should be wary of hubristic projections tonight. Clearly, a dead party can revivify in two years provided the energy in the electorate is there."

Archive: October 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It's always nice to have friends who wish you the best, and as you know, in politics the number of people who say they were with you last time is substantially larger than the number of people that actually were with you last time."

-- Mitt Romney, quoted by the Des Moines Register.

Archive: September 17, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Well, this is kind of music to my ears because all through the presidential run when I was engaged in it two years ago what I constantly came up against was sort of the elitism of the Republican establishment, the snooty down their nose gee you're not properly pedigreed you didn't go to Harvard or Yale. You went to a Christian college and you didn't run with the cocktail crowd in Manhattan."

-- Mike Huckabee, in an interview with David Brody, noting the Tea Party is "reminding the rest of America that ordinary people can make a dramatic difference in this country."

Archive: September 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

"When you're sent to an image consultant and said that you look like a stripper and talk bad and you're hurting the campaign when, you know, there's a pregnant teen there, it does a little bit to your self-esteem."

-- Meghan McCain, in an interview on the Daily Show, talking about her insecurity during her father's 2008 presidential campaign.

Archive: September 10, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I talk about campaign sex and campaign goggles, which I wasn't having but a lot of the staff and the journalists were. You know there's not a lot to do in the meantime and you hear all the gossip... Campaign goggles are like beer goggles, the more you're around the person the more attractive they become."

-- Meghan McCain, in an interview with Joy Behar, promoting her new book, Dirty Sexy Politics.

Archive: September 08, 2010

McCain Dishes on Palin

On the Tonight Show to promote her book Dirty Sexy Politics, Meghan McCain talked about the moment she learned that her father chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

Said McCain: "I found out about an hour before I went on stage with her. I think they were scared I'd say something and whatever and, you know, like the rest of the country, I had no idea who she was, and I was actually, like, crying on the bus on the way to the rally... And I found out who she was, and I remember being on stage and distinctly remembering, God, let her not have any skeletons in the closet, please God. And if you see any video footage of it, I looked panicked. I was just scared. I was really scared. I didn't know her... my initial reaction was 'who the hell is Sarah Palin', like everybody else."

Archive: August 31, 2010

Meghan McCain Speaks Out on Palin

In her new book, Dirty Sexy Politics, Sen. John McCain's daughter Meghan McCain breaks her silence about Sarah Palin, writing that she brought "drama, stress, complications, panic and loads of uncertainty" to the losing campaign.

She writes: "I had learned a few things on the campaign already, and knew that change always brought complications and chaos and sometimes a little entertainment. Drama was inevitable on a campaign and created almost out of thin air. Tempers were always flying, and feelings were always being hurt. There was no question that a running mate would add to the confusion and upset. There would be less time for fun. But I couldn't have predicted just how serious it was going to get."

McCain admits that she wanted her father to pick Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as his running mate, though she told ABC News that she doesn't think Palin was the reason her father lost.

Archive: August 30, 2010

Big Girls Don't Cry

In the mail: Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister, who argues that "though the election didn't give us our first woman president or vice president, the exhilarating campaign was nonetheless transformative for American women and for the nation.

It's an interesting thesis, particularly in light of the news that after this year's midterm elections the number of women in Congress could actually drop for the first time since 1978.

Archive: August 04, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Where the hell do they get these names?"

-- Katie Couric, caught in leaked footage from August 2008 as she rehearses a story on Sarah Palin, referencing the names of Palin's children.

Archive: July 29, 2010

How Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount

This looks really good: This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount by Jay Weiner.

The book is the behind-the-scenes saga of the largest, longest, and most expensive election recount in American history. Based on daily reporting during the eight months spent covering the recount, the author looks at the motivations of key players in the drama and explains how the Franken team's devotion to data collection helped him win the recount by a mere 312 votes.

Archive: July 23, 2010

Clyburn Teases Biden

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) introduced Vice President Joe Biden at an event in South Carolina with a nice jab, CNN reports.

Said Clybrun, barely concealing laughter: "Ladies and gentleman, it's a pleasure for me to present to you a mainstream American who is an articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy."

It was a reference to Biden's uncomfortable description of Barack Obama in the early days of the 2008 presidential race.

Archive: July 16, 2010

Revisiting Franken vs. Coleman

Coming soon: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Senate by Wy Spano.

"The Al Franken-Norm Coleman race was destined to be a dramatic showdown long before the courtroom wrangling that decided the election. The biographies of Franken and Coleman provide a virtual composite of the Baby Boomer experience and the contradictions inherent in that generation's politicians. But who knew that the paths of these two native New Yorkers from Jewish backgrounds would converge in Minnesota, in a U.S. Senate race for the ages?"

Archive: June 29, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards Speaks

Elizabeth Edwards spoke with Matt Lauer in an interview that will air tomorrow on the Today Show. It's her first public comments since separating from her husband, John Edwards.

Here are a few excerpts:

LAUER: What questions have you been forced to ask yourself about the last two, three, four, five, ten years of your marriage?

EDWARDS: You know, did I waste my time in these years? Have I thrown this part of my life away, in a sense? And I decided that I didn't. That maybe I didn't get the same things out of it I expected to, or that I thought I was at the time. But when I look back, there's really lots of blessings that I've had. I've had the opportunity, you know, to have these great children. I've had wonderful friends. I've had experiences that, you know, really couldn't be replaced. And opportunities to talk about things that mattered to me.

LAUER: When the story of John's affair first came to light, you were told by John, and correct me if I'm wrong, that this was basically a one-night stand.

EDWARDS: It was. I-- I thought that throughout the campaign. I thought that for much longer than most people would have thought reasonable. But I believed it.

Archive: June 16, 2010

Man Convicted of Torching Black Church After Obama Election

A 23-year-old Massachusetts man plead guilty today to torching a predominantly black church several hours after the election of Barack Obama, a crime that prosecutors say was motivated by bitterness over the election of the nation's first black president.

Boston Globe: "Investigators said Haskell was one of three men who, several hours after Obama's election, broke into the church through a window, poured gasoline inside and outside, and ignited it. The fire destroyed nearly the entire structure."

Archive: June 08, 2010

Top Races Waged in Clinton Country

According to The Fix, of the 27 Democratic-held House seats and 10 Senate races listed as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, Barack Obama lost roughly half of each by wide margins to Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries.

"Obama lost to Clinton in seven of the 10 states with top Senate races, and in about 60 percent of the top 27 House districts. Five of those states and 13 of those House districts went for Clinton by double digits."

Quote of the Day

"I had a lot of hope for Obama, but it's not panning out."

-Artist Shepard Fairey, in an interview with Angeleno magazine. Fairey created the famous "Hope" image of Obama during the 2008 campaign.

Archive: May 13, 2010

Using the 2008 Playbook to Pass Health Care Reform

Sam Stein looks at how President Obama guided a health care reform bill through Congress using "a lawmaking philosophy that was, at once, hands off and reactive, comprehensive and flexible. It was a tack unique to recent presidents."

"For the President and his key staff -- many of whom had been with Obama as he plotted his political trajectory years earlier -- the legislative process was derived primarily from the approach they took to electoral politics. The headquarters were different (the West Wing instead of Chicago). And the campaign dealt with a massive piece of domestic policy rather than an actual candidate. But the game-plan came from the same textbook."

Archive: April 30, 2010

How Did John Edwards Fool Reporters?

Jill Lawrence says that when you write about politics, "you have to trust your instincts as well as your reporting. It's a maze of egos, issues, personality, psychology, ambition and money, and there's a lot that goes on under the surface. Even knowing all that, The Politician -- Young's book about his selfish and masochistic servitude to John and Elizabeth Edwards, and his complicity in their ruin -- was one of the most disturbing reading experiences I've ever had."

"It's not the only tell-all about the 2008 presidential race, of course. The best-selling Game Change has a lot of compelling material based on deep reporting. Yet for the most part that book adds juicy details to story lines and personalities that were already familiar to people who follow politics. In Young's insider's tale, what's stunning are the depth and duration of the deception, the number of people who enabled it, the potentially catastrophic consequences for Democrats, the vast chasm between the family's image and reality, and the sinking feeling among people like me that somehow we should have figured all of this out while it was going on."

Archive: April 28, 2010

Palin Needed Scripted Answers for Debate

In an interview with Sky News, McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt said that Sarah Palin's debate preparations during the 2008 presidential campaign "were going so badly in the days leading up to the debate" that the campaign was facing an "emergency" and a "crisis."

Scmidt said he gave her scripted answers to memorize telling her, "These are the questions. Here's what he's going to say. Here's what your most effective response is. That we want to be able to come out of this debate saying you were on offense."

Schmidt said they had predicted all but one of the questions "and that was a question on nuclear non-proliferation, if I recall."

Archive: April 14, 2010

How Colorado Went from Red to Blue

Just published: The Blueprint: How Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager.

The book looks at how Colorado Democrats flipped the solid red state in just ten years and provides fascinating insights into one of the most sustained and coordinated political efforts in recent history.

Archive: April 02, 2010

Giuliani Gets Revenge on Crist

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will endorse Marco Rubio (R) over Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) for U.S. Senate next week, the Palm Beach Post reports.

You'll remember that Giuliani sought Gov. Charlie Crist's endorsement when he ran for president in 2008, but Crist instead endorsed eventual nominee Sen. John McCain.

Game Change had some great "fly-on-the wall" observations behind the fight for Crist's endorsement which the St. Petersburg Times highlights.

Archive: March 22, 2010

Just Like 2008

First Read points out the striking comparisons between the long health-care debate and the long Democratic nomination fight of 2008.

"Both were extended due to the opposition's political victories (Scott Brown's win vs. Hillary's wins in OH and PA). Both resulted in tough news cycles for Obama (the narrative about his disappointing first year in office vs. the Wright/'bitter'/'why has he been unable to seal the deal?' stories). Both saw a lot of overheated rhetoric (the Tea Party protests vs. the PUMA ones). And on both, Obama was ultimately victorious due to the math (the Dems' congressional majorities vs. the delegate count) and due to his perseverance to simply outlast his opponents. Ultimately, the long Democratic nomination made Obama a stronger general election candidate because it forced him to focus more on the economy, it gave him additional opportunities for one-on-one debates, and it ended up putting IN and NC in play. And that long fight also gave him the confidence that eventually he can wear down his opposition."

Archive: March 15, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Falling in love with you could really fuck up my plans for becoming President."

-- John Edwards, as recounted by his mistress, Rielle Hunter, in an interview with GQ.

Archive: March 13, 2010

You Have to be Crazy to Run for President

Peggy Noonan read Game Change and wishes it was made up. But sadly, no one to her (or my) knowledge has come forward to say, "I didn't say that!" or, "That's a lie!"

"Not only do staffers turn on candidates in this book, but candidates turn on staffers. At times you get the impression people were wearing wires. But the overwhelming fact the book communicates is that our candidates for president are emotionally volatile, extreme personalities."

She concludes: "The shallowness, the lack of seriousness of modern presidential candidates is almost unbelievable. It is also a mystery: How could this be? If today a candidate told me he was not crazy, I will go with it, for it would be news."

Archive: March 12, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I could have possibly beaten Sen. McCain in the primary. Then I could have been the candidate who lost to Barack Obama."

-- Mitt Romney, quoted by the Observer & Eccentric, "suggesting the winds of change were inevitable."

Archive: March 01, 2010

Negative Approval in the Purple States

Tom Jensen notes that President Obama "now has a negative approval rating in every state he flipped from the Bush column to his in 2008. In each of those places his level of support is now in the 44-46% range. It's probably a good thing he doesn't have to run for reelection this year. He can only hope things start turning around for him once the midterms are in the rear view mirror, much as they did for Bill Clinton."

Archive: February 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I don't owe him shit. He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it."

-- Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, quoted by Scott Detrow, about Sen. John McCain "using" of him during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Archive: February 08, 2010

Dirty Sexy Politics

As a guest host on The View, Meghan McCain refused to answer any questions about Sarah Palin -- but teased that she would soon talk publicly about her father's running mate.

Said McCain: "I got a book coming out in August and I'd be happy to come back and tell you everything in August."

McCain's forthcoming book is titled Dirty Sexy Politics: A True Story.

Archive: January 31, 2010

Categorizing the 2008 Presidential Race

A Newark Star Ledger review of Game Change notes this "is not a look at big ideas or political theologies, but at categories: who is the sleaziest (John Edwards, a shoo-in); the most air-headed and diva-like (Sarah Palin, again a shoo-in); the gabbiest and most gaffe-prone (Joe Biden, by at least 1,000 words); the orneriest (Bill Clinton, especially during Bubba mode in South Carolina); the most tempestuous and profane (John McCain, cursed like a sailor); the most aggrieved (Hillary Clinton, with some justification); the schizo wife (Elizabeth Edwards, saintly on the outside/beastly with John); the resurrected wife (Michelle Obama, a winner after early stumbling); and the coolest (Barack Obama, from pillar to post)."

Archive: January 28, 2010

Whitman on the McCain Campaign

Meg Whitman, now running for governor in California, writes about Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in her new book, reports Politico.

From The Power of Many: "When you have managed a big organization and thousands of people, you take for granted management basics such as respecting lines of authority and decision making. The lines of authority in the McCain campaign were constantly crossing, and there was much misfiring and battling for his attention."

Whitman also claims credit for the "Country First" slogan McCain used at the Republican convention.

Archive: January 27, 2010

The Separation

It shouldn't be a surprise -- particularly to anyone who has read the revelations in Game Change or The Politician -- but ABC News reports that John and Elizabeth Edwards are now legally separated.

North Carolina law allows divorce only after waiting a year after separation.

Obama Girl Loses Her Crush

You know President Obama's political fortunes have faded when even the Obama Girl is losing patience.

New York Post: "Amber Lee Ettinger -- the buxom sensation who lip-synched about her love for then-candidate Barack Obama -- said she wishes he spent his first year in office more fo cused on fixing the abysmal economy."

Archive: January 20, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country. The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they're frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

-- President Obama, in an interview with ABC News.

Archive: January 18, 2010

Book Shows Voters Chose Well

Hendrick Hertzberg reviews Game Change and notes Barack Obama "is the only principal whose aides do not experience moments of suspicion -- or, in the cases of Edwards and Palin, weeks of certainty -- that their candidate is unfit for the office that he or she seeks. Only the future President is exactly what he seemed to be: calm, determined, a little aloof, immune to the snares of anger or vengefulness."

"Game Change leaves one reassured that the voters, given the choices before them, chose well."

Archive: January 14, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"We were never ready... no one was prepared to defend her. Nobody knew anything."

-- McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace, quoted by Politico, on the pick of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate.

Archive: January 12, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I wouldn't know."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview on the Today Show, when asked about former aides claiming to the authors of Game Change that Sarah Palin was not adequately vetted.

Archive: January 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

"There were numerous instances that she said things that were -- that were not accurate that ultimately, the campaign had to deal with. And that opened the door to criticism that she was being untruthful and inaccurate. And I think that is something that continues to this day."

-- McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt, in an interview on 60 Minutes, on Sarah Palin.

Archive: January 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

"No, it's God's plan."

-- Sarah Palin when asked if she was nervous being picked as Sen. John McCain's running mate, as recounted on 60 Minutes by McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt.

Palin Thought Saddam was Behind 9/11

One more item, this time about Sarah Palin, from the soon-to-be-released book, Game Change:

The New York Times notes that "in the days leading up to an interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, aides were worried with Ms. Palin's grasp of facts. She couldn't explain why North and South Korea were separate nations and she did not know what the Federal Reserve did. She also said she believed Saddam Hussein attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001."

Archive: January 09, 2010

Obama, Biden Clashed During Campaign

The relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden "grew so strained during the 2008 campaign," according to a Game Change, "that the two rarely spoke and aides not only kept Biden off internal conference calls but refused to even tell him they existed," Politico reports.

"Instead, a separate campaign call was regularly scheduled between the then-Delaware senator and two of Obama's top campaign aides - "so that they could keep a tight rein on him."

Quote of the Day

"A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee."

-- Former President Bill Clinton in conversation to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) about Barack Obama, according to Game Change.

Kennedy reportedly "fumed" about the exchange to a friend and, if true, it helps explain the strained relationship between the two men during the 2008 presidential campaign. 

How Edwards Destroyed His Political Career

New York magazine runs a brutally-tough but must-read excerpt from Game Change on how John Edwards handled the disclosure of his extramarital affair.

"For all the high drama of the Obama-Clinton battle and the historic import of the former's general-election victory over McCain, Edwards's story is equally, lastingly resonant: an archetypal political tragedy in which the very same qualities that fuel any presidential bid -- ego, hubris, vanity, neediness, a kind of delusion -- became all-consuming and self-destructive. And in which the gap between public facade and private reality simply grew too vast to bridge."

Reid Apologizes for Private Remarks on Obama

Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) apologized for privately referring to Barack Obama early in his presidential campaign as a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect," as recounted in the forthcoming book Game Change.

Reid's statement to Jon Ralston: "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans, for my improper comments. I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama's legislative agenda."

Update: A statement from President Obama: "Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years, I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

Staffers Knew of Edwards Affair

Marc Ambinder got an early copy of Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin and highlights the chapters "about the unbelievably dysfunctional husband and wife team of John and Elizabeth Edwards. Not only, it turns out, did many senior Edwards staffer suspect that John was having an affair, several confronted John Edwards about it, and came away believing the rumors. At least three campaign aides resigned because of their knowledge of the affair well before the national media picked up on those early National Enquirer stories."

The two supposedly "fought, in front of staffers, about the affair. The authors describe a moment where Elizabeth, in a such a state of fury, deliberately tears her blouse in the parking lot of a Raleigh airport terminal, 'exposing herself. 'Look at me,' she wailed at John and then staggered, nearly falling to the ground.' (That's page 142.) (This was in October, by the way, well before the media took the reports of the Hunter affair seriously.)"

If nothing else, these anecdotes will give greater credence to Andrew Young's tell-all, The Politician, which is coming out in a few weeks.

Archive: January 08, 2010

Flashback to the Palin-Biden Debate

The forthcoming book, Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, reports that McCain campaign aides had Sarah Palin refer to Joe Biden by his first name in the vice presidential debate because she had the unfortunate habit of calling him "O'Biden" when using his last name.

In fact, a Political Wire reader sends over a clip from the debate where she slipped and actually called him O'Biden.

Insiders Not Very Accurate

Some perspective on that Republican GOP insiders poll that showed Mitt Romney the runaway favorite for president in 2012: James Barnes notes that four years ago, former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) narrowly edged Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the Republican insiders' favorite for 2008. We all know how that ended.

It wasn't much better on the Democratic side, where Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was the favorite of Democratic Insiders for 2008 and Howard Dean (D) was the favorite for 2004.

Archive: January 07, 2010

Game Change

Coming next week: Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

Among the revelations:

Sarah Palin was so overwhelmed by the amount of information she needed to learn to debate Joe Biden that campaign staffers thought the debate might be a "debacle of historic and epic proportions."

Asked by Barack Obama if she would be his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton -- after initially turning him down -- was concerned that her husband's penchant for causing controversy would interfere with her new role.

The authors will be interviewed on 60 Minutes this Sunday by Anderson Cooper.

Archive: December 27, 2009

Notes from the Cracked Ceiling

Out this week: Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win by Anne Kornblut.

Kornblut writes in the Washington Post: "As a political reporter, I spent more than two and a half years covering the Clinton campaign, and traveled with Palin after her nomination. Here are some lessons, culled from what I witnessed on the campaign trail, for the next female candidate who's aiming to break what Clinton called 'the highest, hardest glass ceiling of all.'"

Archive: December 17, 2009

Another Look at Election 2008

Matt Forrest, an undergraduate student at UW-Madison, sends over a very interesting Election 2008 map that shows vote tallies as proportional symbols and coloring the symbols based on the margin of victory in that county.

Blacking Out McCain?

On a beach vacation in Hawaii, TMZ notes Sarah Palin sported a visor from the 2008 presidential campaign but apparently tried to cover up its "McCain for President" logo with black marker.

Archive: December 15, 2009

Edwards Visit to Campaign Donor Raises Questions

With John Edwards under investigation by a federal grand jury, "two former prosecutors say a trip he made to the home of a wealthy supporter -- and possible witness -- could raise legal questions," according to the Charlotte Observer.

On Friday, WRAL-TV showed Edwards "walking off a plane belonging to Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon, a wealthy heiress who supported the former Democrat's presidential candidate's campaign. Flight records showed the plane flew... to the private airstrip at Mellon's northern Virginia home."

A grand jury is investigating whether Edwards used campaign money to cover up an affair with mistress Rielle Hunter. A former aide claims Mellon paid some of Hunter's bills and the Edwards trip raises questions of possible witness tampering.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Business Journal looks into a National Enquirer report that Edwards purchased a home for his former mistress in North Carolina.

Archive: December 14, 2009

McCain Gets Angrier

The New York Times runs a fascinating piece on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on how "has cut back his dealings with many of the people who were at his side while he was running for president" and is escalating his attacks on the White House.

"If Mr. McCain has had a history of being a happy warrior, that is not the phrase used by many of his friends to describe his demeanor these days. There are few glimpses of the winks, wry smiles and one-liners that were once an integral part of his character. More typically, his remarks are tinged with sarcasm or anger, delivered with a wave of the arm or both hands chopping through the air..."

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "His presidential aspirations are over -- he knows he's never going to be president. Most people in that position have a hard time re-engaging, but he's really engaged. I've never seen him like this before. He's really going down there, he's really making it tough for them."

Archive: December 07, 2009

A Different McCain

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "still strikes his signature pose as war hero and scourge of special interests, but in other ways McCain is cutting a very different profile than he did before he ran for president in 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Gone is the maverick bridge-builder who bucked his party on high-voltage issues such as immigration, climate change and campaign finance reform. As the GOP has settled on a strategy of unremitting opposition to the Obama agenda, McCain has been front and center on the attack."

Archive: November 19, 2009

Most Republicans Think Obama Stole Election

A new Public Policy Pollling survey finds that 52% of Republican voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama last year, with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately.

Is that just delusional? Probably. But it now makes sense that Doug Hoffman is playing up the ACORN conspiracy theory in the NY-23 special election.

Archive: November 17, 2009

Really Going Rogue

Marc Ambinder has emails from the McCain presidential campaign that show Sarah Palin and her staff really did go rogue.

"As the campaign came to a climax in October, Palin isolated herself from headquarters, refusing to communicate with them directly. Her staff, suspicious that McCain's retinue of lieutenants were trying to sabotage Palin simply because she was Palin, began to skirmish with McCain's staff, bollixing up carefully planned events. At the same time, it seems clear that McCain's senior staff evinced little sympathy for how tough a 24/7 presidential campaign can be on a mom with a day job."

Edwards Wanted to be Attorney General

One of the most interesting claims from David Plouffe's new book is that John Edwards' team offered him a secret deal before the South Carolina primary: Edwards would drop out if he were made the vice presidential candidate.

However, in several emails to Greg Sargent, senior Edwards adviser Joe Trippi challenged Plouffe's claim, saying that Edwards really wanted the Attorney General slot.

McCain Rejects Palin's Claim

Even though Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) asked his aides to stay quiet about Sarah Palin's new book, the senator himself denied to The Hill his former running mate's "allegation that his campaign stuck her with a $50,000 legal bill to pay for the cost of vetting her as a potential vice presidential candidate."

"McCain said the bill was for legal work related to allegations that Palin made improper use of her influence as Alaska's governor to press for the dismissal of a state trooper."

Archive: November 16, 2009

Palin Contradicts Herself

"This time, there wasn't a family vote. Other steps in my political life, I've polled the kids, and I have abided by some of the results of the polls that the kids have partaken in. This time, no."

-- Sarah Palin, in an interview today with Oprah Winfrey, on deciding to run for vice president.

"It was a time of asking the girls to vote on it, anyway. And they voted unanimously, yes. Didn't bother asking my son because, you know, he's going to be off doing his thing anyway, so he wouldn't be so impacted by, at least, the campaign period here."

-- Palin, in an interview with Sean Hannity in September 2008.

McCain Asks Staffers to Stay Quiet

NBC News reports that Sen. John McCain "has specifically asked his former aides not to do interviews rebutting Palin's charges in her book -- to avoid escalating the feud between her and the campaign staff. Most are complying with his wishes, hoping it will die down."

But one key player targeted by Palin in the book points to emails that contradict Palin's version of events.

Said the former McCain campaign aide: "It is unrecognizable at every instance. There is not one truthful account as it relates to any conversation I ever had with her."

Archive: November 15, 2009

Palin's Payback

In a review of Sarah Palin's Going Rogue, the New York Times notes "the most sustained and vehement barbs in this book are directed not at Democrats or liberals or the press, but at the McCain campaign. The very campaign that plucked her out of Alaska, anointed her the Republican vice-presidential nominee and made her one of the most talked about women on the planet -- someone who could command a reported $5 million for writing this book."

"All in all, Ms. Palin emerges from Going Rogue as an eager player in the blame game, thoroughly ungrateful toward the McCain campaign for putting her on the national stage."

Archive: November 14, 2009

The Lessons from 2008

While most of the political book talk is about Sarah Palin, The Audacity to Win by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe debuts this week at #6 on the New York Times bestseller list.

It's an extraordinary book that any political junkie, regardless of party affiliation, will love. Highly recommended.

Archive: November 03, 2009

By The People

Set your DVR: By The People: The Election of Barack Obama airs tonight on HBO at 9 p.m.

I had the chance to watch it over the weekend and it's a wonderful documentary. While it's not quite as good as the War Room -- still one of my all-time favorites -- the film features some remarkably intimate behind-the-scenes footage as Obama and his team orchestrated a historic victory in last year's presidential election. The filmmakers were there from the beginning and provide an amazing window into Obama and the type of person who actually runs for president.

Highly recommended.

Palin Sowed Confusion on Election Night

According to a new book, Sarah from Alaska by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, tensions within Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign "boiled over on Election Night last November when Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, repeatedly ignored directions from senior staffers who told her she would not be delivering her own concession speech," CNN reports.

"Palin's speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him."

Even though Schmidt broke the news to Palin, she told to a staff member: "I'm speaking. I've got the remarks. Figure it out."

In the end, Palin did not speak. The former Alaska governor is expected to address the drama in her own book, Going Rogue, coming out later this month.

Archive: November 01, 2009

Obama Refused Deal with Edwards

George Stephanopoulos got an advance copy of David Plouffe's new book, The Audacity to Win, and learns that John Edwards "is as craven as you think."

"Sometime after the South Carolina debate Plouffe got a call from a senior Edwards advisor who said Edwards was willing to announce the end of his campaign and join forces with Obama to defeat Clinton. When Plouffe asked if he could raise this with Obama the Edwards advisor said, 'Yes... Just to be clear we're going to talk to the Clinton people too. That's not where John's heart is, but he is at the point of maximum leverage now.'

Writes Plouffe: "Obama's answer was quick and firm: he would cut no deals."

Quote of the Day

"I think we should thank John McCain for picking her, in terms of how it helped us win in 2008."

-- Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, on Meet the Press, discussing Sarah Palin.

Plouffe was discussing his new book, The Audacity to Win, which is out this week.

Archive: October 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

"When voters step back and analyze how he made this decision, I think he's going to be in big trouble. You just can't wing something like this -- it's too important."

-- Barack Obama, quoted in David Plouffe's new book, on Sen. John McCain picking Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Why Obama Didn't Pick Hillary as Veep

In his new book, David Plouffe "seems to confirm what a lot of us suspected during last summer's VP deliberations: that Barack Obama wouldn't pick Hillary Clinton because he couldn't figure out how to make a former President named Bill part of his White House family," ABC News reports.

Said Obama: "I think Bill may be too big a complication. If I picked her, my concern is that there would be more than two of us in the relationship."

Time runs a brief excerpt from Plouffe's book.

Archive: October 23, 2009

Obama Gets an Early Copy

"David Plouffe, who managed the presidential campaign for Barack Obama, personally delivered a copy of his new book to his former boss on Friday during a flight to Boston from Washington," reports the New York Times.

"The book, The Audacity to Win, is scheduled to be officially released on Nov. 3, but Mr. Plouffe gave the president a chance to get a head-start on the 352-page book that chronicles the longest primary election in the nation's history and Mr. Obama's improbable path to the White House."

Add this one to your reading list.

Archive: October 22, 2009

McCain Voters Experienced Drop in Testosterone

According to an interesting new study, men who voted for Sen. John McCain in last year's presidential election experienced a drop in testosterone levels after Barack Obama was announced as the winner.

The testosterone levels of men who voted for Obama remained at the same levels throughout the evening.

The study's conclusion: "The present results suggest that male, but not female, voters respond with testosterone changes to the outcome of presidential elections as if they had personally fought to ascend a social dominance hierarchy."

Archive: October 21, 2009

Plouffe, Schmidt Team Up

"Nearly a year after Election Day 2008, the campaign managers for John McCain and Barack Obama, who spent last year at war, have joined forces," CNN reports.

"McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt and David Plouffe, his counterpart on the Obama campaign, are teaming up to develop a political communications center at the University of Delaware. Both men attended the university, though they did not graduate."

Archive: October 20, 2009

Palin Will Appear on Oprah

Oprah Winfrey will interview former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to air Monday, November 16, 2009.

Winfrey and Palin will meet for the very first time on the episode, which will mark Palin's first interview to discuss her upcoming book, Going Rogue: An American Life and her first-ever appearance on the Oprah show.

Time: "You will recall that there was a controversy, or rather "controversy," during the election, when Oprah Winfrey said that she would not have any candidates, including Palin, on her show before the vote. (Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama, and had him on her show twice before her endorsement.)"

Biden Initially Turned Down Obama

Vice President Biden said President Obama first asked him to be his running mate months before the final announcement was made, CNN reports.

Said Biden: "I initially said no, that I wasn't interested. He asked me to think about it."

Months later, Biden said he accepted when the then-Democratic presidential nominee convinced him he was really committed to changing the course of this country.

Archive: October 15, 2009

Schmidt Defends Palin Pick

Even though Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign manager Steve Schmidt's recent comments about Sarah Palin were not flattering, the AP reports he defended McCain's choice of Palin as his running mate.

Said Schmidt: "I believe to this day that had she not been picked as a vice presidential candidate, we would have never been ahead, not for one second, not for one minute, not for one hour, not for one day."

Archive: October 11, 2009

McCain Admits to Tensions Over Palin

For the first time, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "is openly admitting that there were tensions between his former campaign manager Steve Schmidt and those close to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's one-time White House running mate," CNN reports.

Said McCain: "With a high-pressure situation, there's always tensions that develop within campaigns. And there were clearly tensions between Steve Schmidt and people in the Palin camp."

Earlier this month, Schmidt said a Palin nomination for president in 2012 would be catastrophic.

Archive: September 30, 2009

Is Palin Rewriting History?

John Fund interviewed Lynn Vincent, co-author of Sarah Palin's forthcoming book, who said it "will describe Ms. Palin's frustration over her treatment by the staffers she inherited from the McCain campaign after her surprise pick as the GOP vice presidential nominee last year. Ms. Palin was booked on grueling interviews with hostile reporters while talk-show hosts such as Glenn Beck couldn't even get through to her aides."

But as Ben Smith remembers, Palin "did a small handful of tough television interviews -- memorably with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric -- at the outset, and then became totally unavailable to most of the press."

Archive: September 29, 2009

Minnesotans Still Undecided on Franken

Just two months after being declared the winner in his drawn out U.S. Senate race, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has a job approval rating of just 41%, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

"Nearly a third of Minnesotans -- 30% -- say they still don't know how they feel about the state's newest senator while another 29 percent gave his job performance a thumbs down."

Archive: September 22, 2009

Why the Edwards Scandal Matters

On CNN last night, David Gergen argued that the John Edwards sex scandal remains an important news story because of what nearly happened in the Iowa caucuses last year.

"And this is the very time this woman was pregnant, knew the story was coming. There was a very good chance John Edwards was going to win the Iowa caucuses, first -- you know, the first event out of the box, in effect. Had he won in Iowa, as expected, President Obama would have been knocked out of the race. It would have been John Edwards vs. Hillary Clinton."

"John Edwards might well have wound up with the Democratic nomination. And if you think about the country seeking a change, and it's the recklessness that would go into his whole nomination potentially unraveling in front of the country's eyes, I -- I think that's sort of keeps it in perspective of why this is even a story."

Archive: September 14, 2009

How Bloomberg Decided Not to Run for President

Out next week: Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics by Joyce Purnick.

Mike Allen runs brief excerpts from the book on how New York City's mayor ended months of speculation by deciding not to launch an independent bid for president in 2008.

"The true scope of the Bloomberg's stealth campaign has never been disclosed. A company called the Symposia Group, which had a client of one -- Mike Bloomberg -- had created a Bloomberg for President website on Sheekey's instruction. Mayoral sources were quoted in news accounts saying Symposia was preparing to analyze voter preferences nationwide if Bloomberg ran. They also said they were polling around the country. It remains a well-guarded secret how far that went, what Bloomberg paid for preliminary 'micro-targeting,' travel, salaries and polling, or what he learned. Since Bloomberg personally underwrote his non-campaign, he could spend what he wanted without creating the standard paper trail of public candidate reports."

Archive: September 02, 2009

Palin's Pregnancy Plan

Levi Johnston tells Vanity Fair that Sarah Palin had a rather unorthodox plan -- even before she was picked as Sen. John McCain's running mate -- for how to deal with news that her daughter was pregnant.

Said Johnston: "Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret -- nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn't have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging -- she wouldn't give up. She would say, 'So, are you gonna let me adopt him?' We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn't want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid."

Archive: August 26, 2009

One Year Ago

Sen. Ted Kennedy died exactly one year after he gave his very memorable speech at the Democratic National Convention in support of Barack Obama for president.

Former speechwriter Bob Shrum: "I saw it all again on that journey to Denver in 2008. He was taken to a hospital almost as soon as we arrived, was released and then was rushed back again. He was in agony -- not from the cancer but from a sudden attack of kidney stones. He was determined to speak to the convention and left his hospital bed just a little more than an hour before his appearance, which much of the press and most delegates regarded as improbable or impossible. I stood and cried as he walked onto the stage. In 1980, he had gone there at the end of a long, hard quest through the primaries. This night was the expression of a lifetime's undiminished commitment, the culmination of three weeks of drafting and daily practice sessions -- we live only 25 minutes apart on Cape Cod -- and then a harrowing day and a half in Denver. It was courage and conviction about the true purpose of politics that brought him to this moment."

Archive: August 13, 2009

Edwards to Admit He's Father of Child

Sources have told WRAL News that they expect former Sen. John Edwards to admit that he is the father of his former mistress' 18-month-old daughter.

"Edwards, a two-time Democratic presidential candidate, confessed last August to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who served as a videographer on Edwards' 2008 campaign. He has denied fathering her daughter, saying his relationship with Hunter ended before the child was conceived."

The National Enquirer first broke this story.

Fate of Palin's Wardrobe Unknown

Reliable Source: "It's been nearly a year since Sarah Palin's wardrobe flap began -- and the mystery of the missing designer duds still hasn't been solved."

Archive: August 06, 2009

Edwards Mistress Testifies Before Grand Jury

The former mistress of John Edwards "arrived at a federal courthouse in Raleigh where a grand jury was meeting Thursday -- an appearance that comes as federal investigators examine the two-time presidential candidate's finances," the AP reports.

"Rielle Hunter walked into the building through a back entrance and holding a young child."

Archive: August 05, 2009

Specter Defends Voting for McCain-Palin

On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews tied Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in knots trying to get him to defend voting for McCain-Palin last year because they were the "better choice."

Switching parties sure isn't easy.

The Campaign Managers Look Back at 2008

Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2008 (Campaigning American Style) Here's a book every Political Wire reader will need to pick up: Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2008.

Every four years following the presidential election, Harvard's Institute of Politics convenes a gathering of campaign managers, media commentators, and interested political observers to reflect on presidential campaign strategies from the earliest primaries through Election Day. The result is this book.

Highly recommended.

Archive: August 04, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The votes you're going to have to cast, whether it's guns or whether it's abortion or whether it's any one of the hot-button items, finishes you as a national political leader in this country. You just can't do it. It's not possible."

-- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), quoted in The Battle for America 2008, advising then Sen. Barack Obama to run for president sooner rather than later.

Archive: August 03, 2009

Rove Weighs In On New Document

This just in: Karl Rove thinks the Kenyan birth certificate circulating around the Internet this weekend is "likely a forgery."

For those needing more proof, Markos Moulitsas details the extensive problems with document.

Picking Palin

The latest excerpt from The Battle for America 2008 by Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz has a behind-the-scenes look at how Sen. John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate -- "the extraordinary tale of how a campaign desperate to shake up the race took a huge gamble that would dog McCain until Election Day."

Archive: August 02, 2009

Deciding to Run

The Battle for America 2008 From The Battle for America 2008 by Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz:

In the days leading up to Obama's decision to run, Axelrod prepared a private strategy memo -- dated Nov. 28, 2006 -- that has never been published before. He wrote that an outgoing president nearly always defines the next election and argued that people almost never seek a replica -- certainly not after the presidency of George W. Bush. In 2008, people were going to be looking for a replacement, someone who represented different qualities. In Axelrod's opinion, Obama's profile fit this historical moment far better than did Hillary Rodham Clinton's. If he was right, Obama could spark a political movement and prevail against sizable odds. He also counseled Obama against waiting for a future opportunity to run for president. "History is replete with potential candidates for the presidency who waited too long rather than examples of people who ran too soon. . . . You will never be hotter than you are right now."

The second half of the Axelrod memo was more personal and pointed. "We should not get into a White Paper war with the Clintons, or get twisted into knots by the elites," he wrote. He argued that the issue of experience was overrated but said strength was not, and he conceded that Clinton, because of all she had weathered, was seen by voters as a candidate of strength. "But," he added, "the campaign itself also is a proving ground for strength."

The Washington Post runs a longer excerpt from the book that is worth reading.

Archive: July 31, 2009

The Battle for America 2008

The Battle for America 2008 Out next week: The Battle for America 2008 by Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz.

The book "tells the story of the 2008 campaign from the inside out, with exclusive interviews with the candidates and their top strategists that produce intimate portraits of Obama, Clinton, and McCain."

The Washington Post has advance excerpts.

Archive: July 28, 2009

Obama's Original Birth Certificate Still Exists

Hawaii's Health Department confirmed "that it has President Obama's original Aug. 4, 1961, birth certificate in storage, but the announcement is unlikely to satisfy conspiracy theorists who insist Obama was born in Kenya," reports the Honolulu Advertiser.

Despite this news -- "and several court rulings and statements by Hawaii's Republican governor, Linda Lingle, the issue continued to resonate from Capitol Hill to the blogosphere."

Last night, the House passed a resolution by 378 to 0 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood -- which also included language recognizing the state as President Obama's birthplace.

Archive: July 27, 2009

Inhofe Says "Birthers" Have a Point

Buried in a Politico piece about right wing activist challenges to President Obama's citizenship is an amazing line from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who is said to be seeking "the elusive middle ground" on the issue.

Said Inhofe: "They have a point. I don't discourage it... But I'm going to pursue defeating [Obama] on things that I think are very destructive to America."

Update: An Inhofe spokesman says the senator does not question the legitimacy of Obama's presidency.

Archive: July 24, 2009

McCain Lawyers Investigated Obama Citizenship

As we asked earlier this week, if questions over President Obama's citizenship were valid, wouldn't they have come out during the presidential campaign?

David Weigel talked with Trevor Potter and other lawyers for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign who said that they did look into the Obama citizenship rumors and found them without merit.

Said Potter: "To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state's Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance."

Archive: July 22, 2009

"Playing to the Wackos"

On Hardball last night, Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) tried to defend his bill to "clarify" the citizenship requirements to be President of the United States.

It's an amazing clip that you have to see to believe.

First Read: "Speaking of the conservative base, is anyone else stunned that a member of the United States Congress wouldn't unequivocally say that Barack Obama was born in the United States? ... Why are elected officials feeding this conspiracy theory? As the Morning Joe crew noted today, what do these conspiracy theorists think -- a single mother, 47 years ago, secretly had the president in Indonesia and then hours later decided to get a Hawaii birth announcement because she thought he'd be president?"

Archive: July 21, 2009

Just Asking

On his radio show yesterday, Lou Dobbs once again questioned President Obama's citizenship. He repeated the point on his CNN show last night.

Seriously, if this were a valid issue, wouldn't Hillary Clinton or John McCain have raised this during the presidential campaign last year?

Archive: July 15, 2009

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"Joe the Plumber -- you can quote me -- is a dumbass. He should stick to plumbing."

-- Meghan McCain, in an interview with Out magazine, blasting the man her father held up as the everyman during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Archive: July 12, 2009

Obama Campaign Plane Had Serious Problems

Los Angeles Times: "Airplane control problems last summer could have led to disaster for then-Sen. Barack Obama and his presidential campaign, according to a report released Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board."

Archive: July 10, 2009

Not So Rogue

Had Gov. Sarah Palin "gone rogue" in last year's presidential campaign when she accused Barack Obama of "palling around" with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers? 

According to a book out next month -- The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election by Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz -- she was acting on directions from the very top of the McCain campaign, Marc Ambinder reports.

Emails show the McCain campaign had suggested the following line: "This is not a man who sees American as you and I do -- as the greatest force for good in the world. This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country."

At the event, Palin said this: "Our opponent... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country. This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America."

If you haven't rounded out your summer reading list yet, this looks like a book to add.

Saying Goodbye to Palin

Peggy Noonan on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin:

"She went on the trail a sensation but demonstrated in the ensuing months that she was not ready to go national and in fact never would be. She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why."

"In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough."

Republicans Send Franken $96K Check

"In the last chapter of a stinging loss to now-Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota's Republican Party has sent the Democrat almost $96,000 to cover lawsuit costs," the AP reports.

"Republican Party spokesman Mark Drake said a check was sent via courier Monday to Franken's campaign committee. It arrived Tuesday, the same day Franken took his oath for a seat held open during an eight-month recount and court fight."

Archive: July 09, 2009

Coleman Hurt by Court Fight

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that 52% of Minnesota voters now have an unfavorable opinion of former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) following the protracted recount in last year's Senate race.

Key finding: 54% of respondents indicated that the way Coleman handled the recount made them less likely to support him in any future campaign.

Archive: July 08, 2009

Bush Claims Obama Pursuing "Secret Plan"

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) tells Esquire that President Obama didn't tell voters what he was going to do during the presidential campaign.

Said Bush: "Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he'd let us in on his secret plan prior to the election. He would not have gotten elected if he'd said, 'My idea is to create a $1.8 trillion deficit for the next fiscal year. My idea is to spend $750 billion over the next ten years on a government-sponsored, government-subsidized health-care policy. My idea is to create a massive cap-and-trade system [based on the idea] that CO2 is [a] pollutant and we need to tax it in a massive way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.' Those ideas, which are now embedded in his budget, and the ideas in the stimulus package, weren't central in his campaign."

Archive: July 07, 2009

Purdum on Palin

Todd Purdum discussed his blockbuster Vanity Fair article about Alaksa Gov. Sarah Palin on Air America today, touching on "her unpredictability, her lack of curiosity and her 'casual' relationship with the truth."

Said Purdum: "She really is willing to say that black is white and day is night."

Archive: July 02, 2009

Palin Emails Show Infighting

CBS News: "Internal campaign e-mails exchanged three weeks before Election Day offer a rare look at just how frustrated then Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had become with the manner in which top McCain campaign aides were handling her candidacy. The e-mails, obtained exclusively, also highlight the power struggle and thinly veiled acrimony that pervaded the relationship between Palin and the campaign's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt."

Archive: July 01, 2009

Quote of the Day

"A great frustration I had during the campaign was when the McCain staff wouldn't carve out time for me to go for a run."

-- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview with Runner's World, slipping in another dig about her campaign handlers.

Palin Story Opens Old Wounds

"A hard-hitting piece on Sarah Palin in the new Vanity Fair has touched off a blistering exchange of insults among high-profile Republicans over last year's GOP ticket -- tearing open fresh wounds about leaks surrounding Palin and revealing for the first time some of the internal wars that paralyzed the campaign in its final days," reports Politico.

"Rival factions close to the McCain campaign have been feuding since last fall over Palin, usually waging the battle in the shadows with anonymous quotes. Now, however, some of the most well-known names in Republican politics are going on-the-record with personal attacks and blame-casting."

First Read: "We knew that Todd Purdum's critical profile of Sarah Palin would get lots of attention. What we didn't know was that it would immediately start a public war between Bill Kristol/Randy Scheunemann and Steve Schmidt."

Archive: June 30, 2009

Court Rules for Franken

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled unanimously in favor of Al Franken in the disputed U.S. Senate race, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Rick Hasen: "The bottom line is that the Court says that Franken is entitled to an election certificate, but there is no direct order to the state's governor to sign one. We'll see what the governor does, if Coleman does not concede, as he well may at this point. If not, the opinion is not final until the period for rehearing ends... That's a ten day period, enough time to file an emergency stay application in the U.S. Supreme Court. It would go to Justice Alito, now circuit justice for the Eighth Circuit."

The key takeaway, of course, is that if Franken is seated, Senate Democrats will likely have a big enough majority to overcome any Republican filibuster attempt.

Update: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Coleman has conceded and Franken will be sworn in.

McCain Staffers Trash Palin

A blockbuster Vanity Fair piece by Todd Purdum quotes many senior members of John McCain's presidential campaign team trashing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

"They can't quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be."

Said one aide: "I think, as I've evaluated it, I think some of my worst fears... the after-election events have confirmed that her more negative aspects my have been there... I saw her as a raw talent. Raw, but a talent. I hoped she could become better."

It's today's must read article.

Archive: June 29, 2009

Coleman Becomes Butt of Late Night Jokes

Politico notes Norm Coleman (R) has become a favorite topic of late night comedians over his court fight against Al Franken (D).

Here are a few of the better jokes:

"They had elections today in Iran. Apparently, it's still too close to call. They say if the vote is still close by tomorrow, there will be a runoff election next week and then the usual series of lawsuits from Norm Coleman." (Bill Maher, June 12)

"So now they're going through the recount. They're recounting the ballots cast in the Iranian election, and today they found 14 more votes for Norm Coleman." (David Letterman, June 17)

"The supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said, 'This election was not rigged, the results are final, and you can protest all you want, but if you keep doing it, we're going to start cracking heads.' Now, if we could only get this guy to call Norm Coleman." (Bill Maher, June 19)

On Iran's decision to get rid of 3 million suspicious votes: "To put that in perspective, that's enough to put 9,615 Norm Colemans in the Senate." (Steven Colbert, June 23)

Pawlenty Waiting on Court Ruling

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said on CNN yesterday that he would sign an election certification declaring Al Franken (D) the winner if Norm Coleman (R) loses his court challenge.

Said Pawlenty: "We expect that ruling any day now. I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I'm prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light... I'm not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty."

Archive: June 25, 2009

Still Waiting on Minnesota

Ken Rudin: "Thursday is the day when the Minnesota state Supreme Court usually releases its decisions. Well, its rulings came and went this morning, and there's nothing to report regarding the still unresolved Senate race between Norm Coleman (R) and Al Franken (D)."

A rumor said the decision was coming last week but nothing came of it.

Archive: June 24, 2009

GOP Spent Nearly $1 Million on Coleman Challenge

The NRSC spent nearly $938,000 last month to help Norm Coleman (R), "with most of it going to pay legal bills to firms in Minneapolis and Washington," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, the DSCC reported raising more than $282,000 in May contributions earmarked to help Al Franken (D) in the Senate recount fight.

Archive: June 22, 2009

McCain Says Obama Has "Done Well"

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said his opponent in last year's presidential campaign, Barack Obama, has "done well" in his first five months in the White House, the AP reports.

"The Arizona Republican says that using a legislative scorecard to judge the presidency so far, Obama has achieved all his legislative goals."

Archive: June 18, 2009

Franken-Coleman Ruling Could Come Today

Politics in Minnesota "has now heard from two sources on different sides of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race recount scene" that the final Minnesota Supreme Court ruling is expected to arrive today between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Update: Greg Sargent reports a court spokesman says "no notification has gone out" on a ruling coming.

Archive: June 17, 2009

Edwards Speaks

In a 90 minute interview with the Washington Post -- his first extended conversation with a reporter since confirming he had an extramarital affair -- John Edwards refused to talk about his former mistress, her baby's paternity, his wife's memoir, or the investigation in his campaign finance.

However, he did say "that for all the trauma that came of the 2008 campaign, he is not ready to declare that it had been a mistake to run, calling that a 'very complex question.' He believed, he said, that he had pushed Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in a more progressive direction on issues including health care -- Edwards was the first to propose an individual insurance mandate -- and that the value of his having run will be determined partly by what Obama achieves on these fronts."

Said Edwards: "Did it make sense to run and stay in the race? Time will tell."

Archive: June 14, 2009

Clinton Payback

"Though it's largely gone unnoticed -- or at least as unnoticed as a former president can possibly go -- Bill Clinton has jumped headlong into the 2010 election cycle, deploying his political star power to boost some of his family's most steadfast allies -- many of whom stuck their neck out on behalf of his wife's presidential campaign," Politico reports.

"No request -- or campaign -- seems too local for Clinton in his current loyalty tour."

Archive: June 11, 2009

Coleman Must Pay Franken Court Costs

A court ruled that Norm Coleman (R) owes Al Franken (D) $95,000 for the U.S. Senate trial, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

"Coleman owes the cash because Minnesota law dictates that the loser pay the winner's court costs in an election contest. Because Coleman sued to overturn Franken's lead, he owes Franken's costs."

A Coleman spokesman said the campaign "wouldn't pay the costs until the state Supreme Court rules on the appeal. That decision means the $95,000 will tick up for each day it remains unpaid."

Archive: June 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

"And, you know, the president in his public actions and demeanor, and certainly in private with me and with the national security team, has been strong, thoughtful, decisive, I think he is doing a terrific job. And it's an honor to serve with him."

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked on This Week if President Obama has passed the 3 a.m. test she raised in the Democratic primary last year.

Another interesting tidbit from the interview: Clinton said she initially turned down the offer of becoming Obama's top diplomat but he was persistent and she eventually changed her mind.

Archive: June 04, 2009

Coleman Seen as Likely to Give Up Fight

Roll Call reports Senate Republicans will defer to Norm Coleman's (R) decision whether or not to pursue a federal lawsuit if he loses his Senate recount court case to Al Franken (D) in Minnesota.

In addition, sources close to Coleman say he "would likely give up his legal battle and accept defeat if the Minnesota Supreme Court decides in Franken's favor. That's because Coleman anticipates that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) would ultimately sign Franken's certification papers."

Archive: June 03, 2009

Bush Needed Explanation of Biden Controversy

Remember during the presidential primaries when Joe Biden described Barack Obama as "articulate and bright and clean?"

According to Renegade: The Making of a President, President Bush didn't understand the resulting controversy.

"Bush was so taken aback with the public criticism of Biden that he called in his African American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. 'I don't get it,' he said. 'Condi, what's going on?' Rice told him what everyone else had said: that white people don't call each other articulate."

Pawlenty Will Certify Winner Once Court Rules

Despite speculation that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) might wait to certify the winner of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race if Norm Coleman (R) appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York Times quotes him saying it's unlikely.

Said Pawlenty: "I think you guys have really overbaked that issue. I'm going to do whatever the court says. If the court directs me to sign that certificate, I will."

Meanwhile, we wait for the Minnesota Supreme Court to issue their ruling.

Update: Rick Hasen doesn't think the issue is "overbaked" and suggests Pawlenty still has a lot of wiggle room as to when he would certify the winner.

Archive: June 02, 2009

Obama's Secret Meeting with Wright

Renegade: The Making of a PresidentAccording to the new book, Renegade: The Making of a President, Barack Obama held a secret meeting with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright towards the end of the 2008 presidential primary season. The goal was to get Wright to end his public appearances which were believed to be hurting Obama in the battleground states of North Carolina and Indiana.

"It was time to talk directly to Wright. Over the next week, Obama's friends at Trinity tried to talk their pastor out of his comeback tour. But by now the church was deeply divided between Obama supporters and Wright supporters, and the conversation was going nowhere. So the candidate decided to go see Wright himself in secret, in Chicago. First came the dance over where to meet: one intermediary suggested a neutral location, but Obama said he was happy to go wherever Wright wanted. They ended up talking at Wright's home, and Obama tried to adopt the tone of a concerned friend giving advice. He did not want to tell his former pastor what to do, but he did want to nudge him in the right direction by making him aware of what was about to happen. Wright wasn't heading for vindication; he was heading for vilification."

Obama ultimately wasn't successful in getting Wright to stay quiet, but he did end up winning the North Carolina primary by 15 points and losing the Indiana primary by just one point.

Quote of the Day

"We had to figure out how to deal with a former president who was just lying, engaging in bald-faced lies."

-- President Obama, quoted in Renegade: The Making of a President, about former President Bill Clinton's actions during the Democratic primaries.

When Obama was asked by the author if Clinton got in his head, he replied: "Yes, but I got into his."

Archive: June 01, 2009

The Making of a President

David Gregory interviews Richard Wolffe on his new book, Renegade: The Making of a President. It's really the first book that offers a serious look at how Obama won last year's presidential election.

The book is out tomorrow and is definitely a must-read.

Senate Race Will Now Be Decided by Judges

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard an hour of arguments on whether absentee ballot problems justify reversing a lower-court ruling that declared Al Franken (D) the winner over Norm Coleman (R) in last year's U.S. Senate race, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The hearing concluded with a justice saying "a decision will be forthcoming" -- offering no indication how long that process could take.

Rick Hasen: "There's no question that Coleman's side got much tougher question than Franken's side, and based upon oral argument I would not be surprised to see a unanimous decision in favor of Franken in a relatively short time frame (within two weeks -- maybe sooner). I counted at least three of the five Justices who were much more willing to accept Franken's arguments than Coleman's arguments, and who asked Coleman's side much more difficult questions."

Esme Murphy: "I have been unable to find any independent expert who believes Coleman will win in the Minnesota Supreme Court. In fact, I have asked the Coleman camp if they know of any expert and they not given me any names."

Democrats Wanted Clinton Out of Senate

Renegade: The Making of a President
A very interesting excerpt from Renegade by Richard Wolffe, which will be available tomorrow:

"His decision to offer her the job of secretary of state came surprisingly early. Well before the end of the primaries, when his staff and friends still felt hostile to her, Obama decided that Clinton possessed the qualities to carry his diplomacy to the rest of the world. 'We actually thought during the primary, when we were pretty sure we were going to win, that she could end up being a very effective secretary of state,' he told me later. 'I felt that she was disciplined, that she was precise, that she was smart as a whip, and that she would present a really strong image to the world... I had that mapped out.'

Archive: May 31, 2009

Five Votes Will Now Decide Minnesota Senate Race

"Almost seven months after a U.S. Senate election that was too close to call, five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday on whether problems with absentee ballots justify reversing a lower-court ruling that declared Al Franken (D) a 312-vote winner over Norm Coleman (R), the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

"A decision upholding the lower-court ruling could end the protracted struggle and allow Franken to join the Senate, giving Democrats an invincible majority. A ruling for Coleman wouldn't return him to the Senate, but could keep his hopes alive and delay a final decision for months."

The Hill: "Franken has spent the past month and a half behaving more as a senator-in-waiting... Coleman, meanwhile, has maintained a hands-on presence in preparing the appeal."

Archive: May 29, 2009

Clinton Campaign Manager Gets Book Deal

The Reliable Source says Patti Solis Doyle, former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton who was fired during the primaries, has inked a book deal "for an undisclosed amount."

"Scheduled for 2011, the nonfiction book will trace her political journey -- and, we can only hope, reveal some juicy campaign gossip."

Franken, Boxer Form Joint Fundraising Effort

Al Franken (D-MN) is forming a fundraising committee with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to raise money for his ongoing MN-Sen court fight and her 2010 reelection bid, the Minnesota Independent reports. The first fundraiser is scheduled for July.

On Monday, the Minnesota Supreme Court begins to hear arguments from Franken and Norm Coleman on their disputed Senate race.

Archive: May 28, 2009

Clinton Still Upset with Kennedy, Richardson

The New York Times Magazine has a must-read profile of Bill Clinton and how he's adjusted to having a Democrat once again in the White House -- but one who is not his wife.

"People close to Clinton said he has largely got over his resentment at Obama but not toward Ted Kennedy and his niece, Caroline Kennedy. As Clinton sees it, they say, he did so much for the Kennedys over the years that he felt they became almost family. Nor has he forgiven Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who endorsed Obama even though Clinton appointed him to two cabinet posts."

Archive: May 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Elections have consequences."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by ABC News, reacting to President Obama's pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee.

Archive: May 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The problem that we have with this president is we don't know him. He was not vetted, folks... He was not vetted, because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office. 'Oh gee, wouldn't it be neat to do that? Gee, wouldn't it make all of our liberal guilt just go away? We can continue to ride around in our limousines and feel so lucky to be alive in an America with a black president.' Okay that's wonderful, great scenario, nice backdrop. But what does he stand for? What does he believe?"

-- RNC Chairman Michael Steele, guest hosting Bill Bennett's radio show.

Archive: May 21, 2009

Renegade: The Making of a President

Renegade: The Making of a President Coming early next month: Renegade: The Making of a President by Newsweek journalist Richard Wolffe.

This book looks like a must read.

One news nugget comes from Fox News which reports the book says President Obama is so "distracted by his vice president's indiscipline" that he has been forced to rebuke privately Vice President Joe Biden.

Archive: May 20, 2009

Senate Republicans Agree to Pay Coleman Legal Bills

NBC News reports that the NRSC has committed $750,000 to help Norm Coleman (R) pay his legal bills in his fight with Al Franken (D) over Minnesota's empty U.S. Senate seat. This all but confirms the strategy that Republicans would rather have an empty Senate seat than one filled by a Democrat.

"It's worth pointing out that this $750,000 isn't chump change."

Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that most Minnesotans believe Coleman should concede to Franken, 54% to 41%.

Hillary's Voice Mail

Ben Smith posts the audio of a voice mail message Hillary Clinton left for Norman Hsu in early 2007.

"It's an effusive, earnest message that offers just about everything loathsome about politics, and thoroughly worth listening to."

Hsu was recently convicted of campaign finance charges.

Archive: May 19, 2009

Davis Persuaded McCain to Pick Palin

Sen. John McCain's top campaign aide, Rick Davis, was the man responsible for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin becoming McCain's running mate, the Washington Times reports.

Said a GOP source: "It was all his doing. He was completely snowed by Palin. He was totally taken by her."

Otherwise, according to the source, Mr. McCain "wanted Lieberman all along."

Archive: May 13, 2009

Edwards Says Campaign Sabotage Unlikely

On Larry King Live, Elizabeth Edwards addressed reports that campaign staffers were ready to tank John Edwards' presidential campaign if rumors of his infidelity proved true.

Said Edwards: "I don't think it makes any sense. These young people who work on campaigns, I wish people got a chance to meet them. They are so inspiring... If the campaign that they're associated with is unsuccessful, what they want to do is move to the campaign that is successful. The earlier you do that, the better. There are more positions available. So to hold on until the very end and then torpedo your candidate means that you have... basically cut off your opportunities to get those jobs in the future.... A person who torpedoed your candidate, your chances of getting a job in the future are not very good."

Archive: May 12, 2009

North Carolinians Split on the Edwardses

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds that 69% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of John Edwards -- the worst figure PPP has ever found for a politician anywhere -- while just 19% view him favorably.

Meanwhile, despite the controversy about Elizabeth Edwards' recent book, she is still viewed positively by 58% of North Carolinians, a level higher than Barack Obama or any other politician that we polled on in the state.

Debunking the Edwards Doomsday Scenario

While he notes it would make a great novel, Walter Shapiro finds the notion that campaign staffers for John Edwards were ready to sabotage his campaign "somewhere between implausible and absurd."

"It did not take many calls to the Edwards alumni association to pick up off-the-record speculation about who might have peddled the self-aggrandizing conspiracy story to Stephanopoulos. In fact, in back-to-back interviews, two Edwards campaign veterans fingered each other as the likely leaker. The whole thing is a diverting parlor game in memory of a disgraced presidential candidate who won exactly one contested primary during his two tries for the White House."

Archive: May 11, 2009

Steele Wants Coleman to Keep Race in Courts

In an interview with The Hotline, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that if the Minnesota Supreme Court doesn't rule Norm Coleman (R) the winner of the U.S. Senate race, "then it's going to the federal courts."

Asked if Coleman should concede if Al Franken (D) is deemed the winner, Steele said, "No, hell no. Whatever the outcome, it's going to get bumped to the next level. This does not end until there's a final ruling that speaks to whether or not those votes that have not been counted should be counted. And Norm Coleman will not, will not jump out of this race before that."

Meanwhile, Rick Hasen has the latest on the court case: "I still think Coleman has an uphill battle here. It would not surprise me if Franken won in an unanimous decision at the state Supreme Court."

Earlier Edwards Withdrawal Would Not Have Helped Clinton

Mark Blumenthal looks at the polling data and finds that John Edwards' presence in the 2008 Democratic presidential race actually took more votes away from Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton.

"The biggest lurch in support over the course of the two year campaign occurs for Obama just after Edwards dropped out (when pollsters stopped including his name on vote preference questions). Just before the Edwards announcement, most polls showed Obama's support in the mid-30s. Just after, his support surged the mid-40s. Over the same period, Hillary Clinton's aggregate support held mostly steady."

Blumenthal concludes that an earlier Edwards withdrawal from the race -- if the news of his marital infidelity became public -- probably would not have changed the outcome of the Democratic primary.

Trippi Says Stephanopoulos Report is False

Joe Trippi, a senior strategist for the John Edwards presidential campaign, uses Twitter to respond to yesterday's report from George Stephanopoulos that some Edwards staffers were prepared to sabotage the campaign if rumors about the candidate's infidelity proved true:

"Complete BS -- fantasyland -- not true."

Archive: May 10, 2009

Edwards Staffers Planned to "Bring Down" Campaign

George Stephanopoulos reports that by late December 2007 several people in John Edwards' inner circle began to think that rumors he had an affair were true.

"Several of them had gotten together and devised a 'doomsday' strategy of sorts. Basically, if it looked like Edwards was going to win the Democratic Party nomination, they were going to sabotage his campaign, several former Edwards' staffers have told me. They said they were Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign."

Archive: May 06, 2009

Did Elizabeth Edwards Really Know?

George Stephanopoulos says that Elizabeth Edwards' admission that she knew about her husband's affair "days after" his presidential announcement back in 2006 puts an interview he had with the two of them "in a new light."

Says Stephanopoulos: "I have to say, during the course of that interview there wasn't a hint of tension between the two of them. They bantered easily -- even playfully -- about the campaign, and their political differences. I also frankly can't believe they could have given an interview like this had they both known but I guess we've all been surprised by performances like that."

Why Do This?

Wendy Button, a former speechwriter for John Edwards, asks the relevant question of Elizabeth Edwards as she embarks on her book tour:

"Why do this? That's the question. Why put four children through the scandal and spotlight all over again? Why pour salt on the wound for those who gave up their lives to work on the cause? Why play with fire when so many feel that what Elizabeth and John did, launch a campaign for the presidency in which they asked people to raise millions of dollars knowing it never had a chance at succeeding, was fraud?"

First Read: "With her upcoming book and her appearance on Oprah this Thursday, it was inevitable that Elizabeth Edwards would begin to receive some backlash -- given that she campaigned so aggressively for her husband in 2007 and 2008, despite her book's claim that she begged him to drop out of the race after she learned about his affair."

Archive: May 05, 2009

The Fall of John Edwards

Ben Smith has today's must-read piece:

"John Edwards' decision to keep running turned an ordinary, private drama into a public spectacle that consumed a presidential campaign, destroyed Edwards' political career, and left an long trail of embittered former staffer and longtime supporters...

"Edwards' campaign appears in hindsight to have been doomed from the start... Its implosion now raises questions that echo in the stories of many talented, self-destructive politicians: When, and how, should their family and staff try to stop them? Were spouse and staff both enablers?"

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I've seen a picture of the baby. I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children but I don't have any idea."

-- Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, on whether John Edwards fathered Rielle Hunter's baby.

Quote of the Day

"This is like getting interview lessons from Sarah Palin."

-- Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, quoted by Politico, to Karl Rove who said that President Obama "is failing to fulfill his bipartisan promise in Congress."

Archive: May 03, 2009

Feds Launch Investigation of Edwards Campaign

Federal investigators "are sifting through the records of money that helped John Edwards' presidential campaign to determine if any was used to keep quiet his affair with Rielle Hunter," the Charlotte Observer reports.

"Records show that Hunter was paid by a political action committee aligned with Edwards. She received $114,000 to film Edwards as he hopscotched the nation to rally crowds in the fight against poverty."

Edwards acknowledged the investigation to the Raleigh News and Observer: "I am confident that no funds from my campaign were used improperly. However, I know that it is the role of government to ensure that this is true. We have made available to the United States both the people and the information necessary to help them get the issue resolved efficiently and in a timely matter. We appreciate the diligence and professionalism of those involved and look forward to a conclusion."

Who broke the story? Once again, it was the National Enquirer.

Archive: April 30, 2009

Edwards Says Husband Should Not Have Run

Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities The New York Daily News got an advance copy of Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards who writes that when she learned of her husband's affair, "I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up."

"Despite feeling deeply deceived," she "nonetheless publicly stood by her husband's side, lending his candidacy the aura of a warm, loving family life. But she had actually wanted him to quit the race to protect the family."

Later events proved her right. "He should not have run," she says.

Archive: April 27, 2009

Minnesota Voters Want Coleman to Concede

A new Grove Insight poll in Minnesota confirms other recent polls that show most Minnesotans want Norm Coleman (R) to concede his U.S. Senate race to Al Franken (D).

"Nearly six in 10 (59%) believe that Coleman should concede to Franken. Only one-third (34%) do not feel Coleman should throw in the towel and another 7% are undecided. Even a significant number of self-identified Republicans (34%) are ready for Coleman to call it quits."

Quote of the Day

"Harry, what's John up to? It sounds crazy."

-- Barack Obama, quoted in a new epilogue to Sen. Harry Reid's autobiography, about Sen. John McCain's decision to "suspend" his presidential campaign.

McCain's First 100 Days

If things had gone differently: Walter Shapiro looks back at what John McCain's first hundred days could have been like.

Reid Says He Encouraged Obama to Run

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told Barack Obama he should run for president in early 2007, telling the then-freshman senator if wanted the White House, he could win it, according to an epilogue to Reid's autobiography to be released next month.

Reid's advice came unsolicited, the majority leader told the Las Vegas Sun in an interview.

"Reid said he invited Obama to his office off the Senate floor ostensibly to discuss other matters. But actually the majority leader brought the young senator in to tell him, as Reid writes in the book, 'If you want to be president, you can be president now.'"

Archive: April 26, 2009

Minnesotans Want Coleman to Concede

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans (64%) surveyed think Norm Coleman (R) should concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken (D), according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. Just  28% consider last week's appeal by Coleman to the Minnesota Supreme Court "appropriate."

"Large majorities of those polled said they would oppose any further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Should Coleman win at the state Supreme Court, 57% of respondents said Franken should concede. And 73% believe Coleman should give up if he loses at the state's highest court."

Archive: April 24, 2009

Minnesota Court Waits Until June for Coleman Appeal

Minnesotans won't know who will be their second U.S. Senator until at least June, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The schedule, set by the five justices who will hear Norm Coleman's (R) appeal, appears to hew more closely to his proposed schedule than the quicker one proposed by Al Franken (D).

Confessions of Steve Schmidt

The Washington Post compiles some more interesting reflections from McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt.

On the Bush-Cheney drag: "The first night of our convention was President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I literally thought by the second night of our convention we could be down 25 points."

On Katie Couric's interview of Sarah Palin: "That is one of the two most consequential interviews that a candidate for national office has given, in a negative way, the other being Roger Mudd's interview of Ted Kennedy . . . when he couldn't answer the question of why he wanted to be president."

On McCain's acceptance of inevitable defeat: "I was waiting for his bus to crash into a CDC truck carrying bubonic plague to release over Cincinnati and Ohio. It was just one thing after another, you know, and never to our benefit."

On the Republican Party: "It is near-extinct in many ways in the Northeast, it is extinct in many ways on the West Coast, and it is endangered in the Mountain West, increasingly endangered in the Southwest... and if you look at the state of the party, it is a shrinking entity."

Quote of the Day

"If you read history about Bobby Kennedy's unfinished race in '68, this was, in my view, the unfinished Bobby Kennedy campaign -- the idealism, the passion, the inspiration he gave to people, it was organic and it was real and it wasn't manufactured at a tactical level in the campaign. It was a function of the president's unique skill set and presence, and it was really taken advantage of by a campaign that for the first time using the social networking technology..."

-- McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt, quoted by Politico, speaking with "unabashed admiration" of the Obama campaign.

Archive: April 22, 2009

Remembering Iowa

From the press gaggle on Air Force One with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs:

Q: One last Iowa question. What does it mean for the President coming back here for the first time since being sworn in, the state that sort of started it all for him?

GIBBS: Yes. Well, I mean, look, Iowa will always be a special place for the President and a special place for those that spent, I think we figured, one out of every three or four days in 2007 here. The President and I were joking that we had no idea you could come to Iowa and just do one stop and go home. A normal day for most of 2007 --

Archive: April 21, 2009

Bachmann is a Fundraising Powerhouse -- for Democrats

El Tinklenberg (D), who challenged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) last year but lost, raised so much money in the final days of his election campaign that he couldn't spend it fast enough, according to CQ Politics.

As a result, Tinklenberg just transferred $250,000 in leftover campaign funds to the DCCC.

McCain-Lieberman Was Possible

According to the head of his vice presidential vetting committee, Sen. John McCain wanted to choose Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate last year but was advised against it because West Virginia law would not allow the selection of a non-Republican on the ballot in that key state.

However, ballot access expert Richard Winger says McCain received bad legal advice and could have picked Lieberman after all.

Update: Rick Hasen has his doubts that it was bad legal advice.

Archive: April 20, 2009

Coleman Files Appeal

Norm Coleman (R) filed notice of his intention to appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court last week's trial verdict awarding the U.S. Senate election to his opponent Al Franken (D), the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The court is expected to hear the case on an accelerated schedule.

The Year of Obama

The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House Just published: The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House by Larry Sabato.

"The big idea of this book is that 2008 looks to be a realigning election -- a very rare event in American history. The previous three were 1896, 1932, and 1980. Translation: The Democratic majority is going to last for a while. There have been 38 presidential elections since 1860, and Obama received the 6th highest share of the vote for a Democrat. Only FDR (four times) and LBJ (once) exceeded Obama's percentage."

This looks like a book you'll need to read.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"You shouldn't have told me that. I've been a risk-taker all my life."

-- Sen. John McCain, in response to A.B. Culvahouse, the head of his 2008 vice presidential vetting team, who told him picking Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be a "high risk, high reward" choice.

Franken Staffs Up

Although it's expected Norm Coleman (R) will formally file his appeal in the Minnesota Senate recount case later this week, The Hotline reports Al Franken (D) has begun hiring staff for what he assumes will be his Senate office.

Have Democrats Gone Too Far in Minnesota?

Rick Hertzberg think Democrats are making a big mistake running ads in Minnesota urging Norm Coleman to drop his court challenge to the Senate recount.

"The DNC does itself no favors by casting itself as anxious to cut short a process that seems to have been eminently fair so far and that appears destined to end in victory. Why not just stand back graciously and let the Republicans try the patience of Minnesotans all by themselves? Anyway, the last reason Republicans would give in is because Democrats are wasting money on commercials telling them to."

Archive: April 17, 2009

Coleman Begins Media Blitz

With polls showing Minnesota voters want the race over, the Minneapolis Tribune reports Norm Coleman "is using a media blitz to convince Minnesotans weary of the recount process and frustrated that they are still a senator short that he has good reason to appeal Democrat Al Franken's victory in the U.S. Senate election trial."

Said Coleman: "I'm hopeful. I think the law is on our side... "In spite of what some say, that somehow this is an effort to delay something -- no. There are very legitimate, important constitutional questions regarding whether or not people's vote should count."

Archive: April 15, 2009

Murphy's Lead Grows in NY-20

Scott Murphy (D) has expanded his lead to 168 votes over Jim Tedisco (R) in the NY-20 special election, according to a new tally, which reflects military and overseas ballots and a few updates from various counties.

Still not reporting: Tedisco's stronghold in Saratoga County and Murphy's stronghold in Washington County.

Nate Silver says the results tallied so far suggest that Tedisco "is bound for defeat" because Murphy is outperforming expectations on the absentee ballots.

Update: Politico reports "many of the absentee ballots from the GOP stronghold of Saratoga County are now in, and the results are not good for Republican Jim Tedisco. Despite the inclusion of some 1,181 absentee ballots from Tedisco's strongest performing county, he still trails Democrat Scott Murphy by 86 votes."

Minnesota Voters Want Election Settled Now

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Minnesota finds that 63% of voters think that Norm Coleman (R) should concede the U.S. Senate election now.

In addition, 59% think Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) should certify Al Franken (D) as the winner of the election immediately and not wait for Coleman's appeals.

Time Running Out for Coleman

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) told the New York Times that he thought it could take two months for the Minnesota Supreme Court to hand down a decision on Norm Coleman's (R) appeal of the decision that Al Franken (D) won Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat.

And while national Republicans have urged Coleman to take his case all the way to the U.S. Surpreme Court, Pawlenty "made clear in the interview that he would not necessarily delay certification if Republicans go to federal court."

Meanwhile, The Hill notes even Republican strategists are beginning to admit that Coleman's options to regain his seat are looking limited following his latest legal defeat.

Archive: April 14, 2009

A Message to Norm Coleman?

First Read notes that while the DNC and DSCC released statements last night "congratulating Al Franken and ratcheting up the pressure for Norm Coleman to bow out, we haven't heard a peep from national Republicans."

"The silence is pretty deafening..."

Archive: April 13, 2009

Court Declares Franken the Winner

A Minnesota court has confirmed that Al Franken (D) won the 2008 U.S. Senate race against Norm Coleman (R), the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Nonetheless, the ruling "isn't expected to be the final word because Coleman previously announced plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court. He has 10 days to do so. That appeal could mean weeks more delay in seating Minnesota's second senator."

Update: Rick Hasen looks at the decision and thinks Coleman's chances on appeal "appear quite small."

Judge Who May Decide Senate Race Donated to Coleman

Senate Guru notes that one of the five Minnesota Supreme Court Justices who will likely decide the U.S. Senate race is a Norm Coleman donor. Justice Christopher Dietzen has contributed to a number of Republican candidates and committee -- including two $250 contributions to Norm Coleman, one in 2001 and one in 2004.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune looks at the possibility of Coleman taking his legal challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. "While some election law experts say it's unlikely that Coleman, a Republican, could win in federal court, his party might have much to gain. A federal challenge could leave a Minnesota U.S. Senate seat vacant for another six months or more, depriving Democrats of a vote needed to pass some of President Obama's agenda in the event of GOP filibusters."

Archive: April 10, 2009

The New Partisan Voting Index

Charlie Cook released the lastest Partisan Voting Index (PVI) based on results from last fall's elections. The index is an attempt to find an objective measurement of each congressional district that allows comparisons between states and districts.

For instance, this chart ranks each congressional district from the most Republican (Spencer Bachus's AL-06 at R+29) to the most Democratic (Jose Serrano's NY-16 at D+41).

Key finding from the re-crunched data: There are far fewer swing districts today than there were in the 1990s and Democrats now hold most of them -- 34 of the 50 most potentially competitive districts (those that fall in the R+2 to D+2 category).

Archive: April 09, 2009

McCain's Daughter Gets Book Deal

The New York Observer reports Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), just signed a book deal with an advance in the "high six figures."

"Sources say Hyperion has prevailed over at least three other publishers in an auction that began earlier this week, following a round of meetings during which the in-your-face young conservative and the literary agent she shares with her father, Sterling Lord Literistic president Flip Brophy, discussed a number of possible approaches to the book with editors around town."

Though Ms. McCain has done many television interviews, she's been unwilling to talk about her father's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Perhaps she will give her opinions on Palin in the book.

McCain Adviser Flips on Bush Tax Cuts

Heard in the CQ newsroom:

Though economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin spent the 2008 presidential campaign advising Sen. John McCain to defend the Bush-era tax cuts, he now thinks they should be allowed to expire on Dec. 31, 2010 due to "the prospect of an Argentina-style fiscal meltdown."

Said Holtz-Eakin: "If you ask: 'Who pays the taxes?', it's the first step toward not having the answer be: 'Our kids.'"

Final Accounting on Palin Clothes

Politico notes a new campaign filing brings the total clothing costs for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) paid for by the RNC "down to about $173,000 and also makes it easier to spot clothing purchases that had previously gone undetected."

"The RNC did not respond to requests for comment about the amended report or the fate of the clothes, which were to have been donated to charity."

Archive: April 08, 2009

Palin-Johnston Feud Heats Up

The war of words between the families of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson, doesn't appear to be letting up.

In an interview on CBS News, Johnston rips the Palin family for "spreading lies about him" and portraying his family as "white trash."

Johnston also says he open to an acting or modeling gig instead of doing "odd jobs" as he is now to support his son.

By the People

Variety has more details on a much anticipated documentary from Edward Norton, By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.

The film "follows the former Illinois senator from the announcement of his candidacy to his historic election and inauguration. Told through exclusive footage of Obama and his staff, By the People is touted as an all-access pass to campaign life on the road to the White House."

Ben Smith notes filmmakers Amy Rice and Aliica Sams "were almost omnipresent on the campaign trail from the start, and occasionally disappeared behind the scenes into access that the rest of the working press didn't get."

Quote of the Day

"I don't know how the Democratic Party operates because I'm not one of them, but every time we had an opening, somebody like Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman and the Republican apparatchiks in the White House decide who is going to represent Minnesota. Closed out the party, closed out everybody else. That's what's going on now... 'We will continue to fund you, just to keep the Democrat out of the Senate.' At some point, somebody has to deal with what's the will of the people of Minnesota."

-- Former Sen. David Durenberger (R-MN), quoted by MinnPost, on the meddling of the RNC in the disputed Minnesota Senate race.

Coleman's Chances Seen as Not Good at Supreme Court

With Al Franken (D) increasing his lead over Norm Coleman (R) yesterday, Bloomberg skips ahead to evaluate Coleman's odds if he appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Coleman's dwindling chances of reclaiming his U.S. Senate seat largely depend on a broad reading of the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore decision, a ruling the court itself said should be applied sparingly... Indeed, the high court has yet to cite Bush v. Gore in the 600-plus rulings it has released since then, and lower courts generally have proven reluctant to use the ruling as grounds for invalidating state voting procedures."

And yes, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Coleman will appeal the final vote tally.

Archive: April 07, 2009

Franken Extends Lead Over Coleman

Al Franken (D) extended his lead over Norm Coleman (R) in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, "following the counting of about 350 formerly rejected absentee ballots this morning," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

"Unofficially, Franken took 198 of the ballots, while Coleman added 111. The ballots added about 87 to Franken's recount lead, enlarging his margin over Coleman to more than 312."

CQ Politics says it's now "mathematically impossible" for Coleman to win the race.

Final Vote Count in Minnesota?

As First Read notes, beginning at 10:30 am ET this morning -- 155 days since Election Day -- Minnesota officials begin counting 387 absentee ballots that the three-judge panel ruled could be opened. The count is expected to last about an hour or so, and Norm Coleman will need to win an overwhelmingly majority of these opened ballots to erase Al Franken's 225-vote lead.

"These ballots aren't the final matter to be resolved, however. There's still the issue of duplicate ballots, as well as those missing Minneapolis ballots. But once they're all resolved -- which will happen either today or sometime later this week -- we'll have a final vote tally. At that point, expect one side (probably Franken's) to declare victory and the other (probably Coleman's) to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court."

However, in an interview yesterday on MSNBC, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said he would not certify the results until the appeals process was finished, suggesting the race could take several more months to be resolved.

Archive: April 06, 2009

Nine Million More Votes

Ben Smith: "Turnout guru Michael McDonald has an early look at the 2008 turnout numbers, and finds that 9 million more people voted in 2008 than in 2004. He finds that black, Hispanic, and youth turnout were up notably, and that white turnout lagged."

Just 387 Ballots Left in Minnesota

The pile of unopened absentee ballots that could be added to Minnesota U.S. Senate totals for Al Franken and Norm Coleman is now down to 387, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Last week, a panel of judges identified 400 ballots for possible counting -- but it's now been determined that "13 of the ballots on the judges' list had already been counted -- on Election Day or during a statewide recount."

Franken leads by 225 votes with these final ballots left to count.

Archive: April 02, 2009

Alaska Republicans Want New Election

The Alaska Republican Party is calling for the resignation of Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) after the Justice Department dropped charges against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) who he defeated last fall, the AP reports.

Party officials say Begich "should resign to allow for a special election so Alaskans can vote for a senator without the improper influence of the 'corrupt' Justice Department."

Big Decision Ahead for Pawlenty

"The legal fight between Al Franken and Norm Coleman is headed to the desk of Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- a no-win predicament for a Minnesota Republican with his eye on a White House run in 2012," Politico reports.

If Franken's ahead after counting the final 400 absentee ballots, Pawlenty "will have a choice: sign the election certificate that will allow Democrats to seat Franken in the Senate or play to the Republicans whose support he'd need in 2012 by withholding the certificate while Coleman challenges the election in the federal court system."

Complicating Pawlenty's task is the Minneapolis Star Tribune observation that few "see any chance of Coleman throwing in the towel." He's promise to run his appeal through the federal courts.

Archive: March 30, 2009

What Happened in New Hampshire?

For polling junkies, a new report explores the misleading polling in the run-up to last year's New Hampshire primary where Sen. Hillary Clinton pulled out a victory despite all indications that Barack Obama was leading.

Mark Blumenthal summarizes: "In other words, what happened in New Hampshire wasn't one thing, it was a likely lot of small things, all introducing errors in the same direction. Various methodological challenges or shortcomings that might ordinarily produce offsetting variation in polls instead combined to throw them all off in the same direction."

Cornyn Says Coleman Challenge Could Take Years

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is threatening "World War III" if Democrats try to seat Al Franken (D) in the Senate before Norm Coleman (R) can pursue his case through the federal courts, Politico reports.

Cornyn, the head of the NRSC, takes this position even as he "acknowledges that a federal challenge to November's elections could take 'years; to resolve. But he's adamant that Coleman deserves that chance -- even if it means Minnesota is short a senator for the duration."

A three-judge panel is expected to rule any day now on legal challenges to the November election.

Archive: March 29, 2009

McCain Says Public Financing is Dead

Sen. John McCain, "an architect of sweeping campaign-finance reform who got walloped by a presidential candidate armed with more than $750 million, predicts that no one will ever again accept federal matching funds to run for the nation's highest office," the Washington Times reports.

Said McCain: "No Republican in his or her right mind is going to agree to public financing. I mean, that's dead. That is over. The last candidate for president of the United States from a major party that will take public financing was me."

Archive: March 27, 2009

Coleman Donor Ordered Payments

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a former CFO of a Texas company controlled by a close friend of Norm Coleman said in a deposition last week that he was ordered to pay $100,000 to a Minneapolis insurance agency where Coleman's wife was employed -- even though their was no indication of any services received.

Archive: March 26, 2009

Red vs. Blue, Spacious vs. Compact

Greg Giroux notes how dominant the Democrats are in the geographically compact congressional districts. For instance, Barack Obama won a stunning 92 of the 100 smallest districts in the 2008 presidential race.

However, the more wide-open and spacious a congressional district, the better Republicans perform. John McCain defeated Obama in 73 of the nation's 100 largest districts by land area.

You can see this trend yourself on CQ's Election Results Map.

The Year of Deep Pocket Candidates?

Here's an interesting question from CQ Politics: Given the economic downturn, will parties rely more on self-funded candidates for 2010 races?

In the previous cycle, at least 18 House and eight Senate candidates loaned their campaigns more than $1 million, according to CQ Moneyline.

Another 60 candidates loaned their campaigns $350,000 or more. In addition, numerous self-funding candidates identified their personal funds as contributions instead of loans to be repaid.

Coleman-Franken Race Sets Record

"Minnesota's U.S. Senate race set a record Wednesday for delay. No election for statewide office in Minnesota has dragged on so long after the autumn vote without a winner being seated," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"The old record was set by the 1962 governor's election between DFLer Karl Rolvaag and incumbent Republican Elmer L. Andersen. When that contest ended the following spring, Andersen, who thought he had been reelected, lost by 91 votes. Rolvaag took the oath of office on March 25, 1963."

Behind CQ's Election Map

The new CQ Politics map showing the 2008 president vote by congressional district is a political junkie's goldmine. But why was it released months after the election?

Greg Giroux, the man behind the massive data set, explains why the arduous project took so long: "With rare exception, the boards of election in the 50 states release their presidential vote totals by county, but not by congressional district."

Archive: March 24, 2009

Coleman Considering Federal Appeal

Norm Coleman (R) is still considering taking his election lawsuit to the federal court if he's unsuccessful in reversing Al Franken's (D) 225-vote lead in the Minnesota courts, according to Politico.

He also said he wants to talk with Franken.

Said Coleman: "At some point it is worth a conversation for the both of us and our families, it's pretty surreal. Here we are in the end of March, moving into April, not done yet."

Archive: March 23, 2009

Interactive Map of 2008 Election Results

Here are the 2008 presidential election results by congressional district in a very fun interactive map. Be prepared to spend a lot of time clicking around.

The Obama Generation

A new Democracy Corps poll shows the Republican Party is "growing more and more irrelevant to America's young people. In marked contrast, young people's support for the President has expanded beyond the 66 percent support they gave him last November."

"Republicans struggle among young people for a very specific reason. At a time when young people are paying close attention to politics and when so many are struggling economically, even more so than older generations, the Republicans simply do not speak to the reality of their lives or to the issues important to them. This perception stands in marked contrast to their reaction to Barack Obama."

Archive: March 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Everybody likes to think they did it all by themselves. I don't believe in the great-man theory of history. You really have to see change as a continuum. It doesn't come in packets, it comes in waves."

-- Howard Dean, quoted in the Boston Globe, hitting back at those in President Obama's inner circle who kept him out of the administration.

Archive: March 20, 2009

Did Coleman's Lawyer Give Up Fight?

The attorney for Norm Coleman's (R) recount fight in Minnesota seemed to suggest in a radio interview that Al Franken "will wind out on top when the three-judge panel finishes reviewing the counting process," The Hotline reports.

Joe Friedberg says that he's "done" but that the case could still drag on.


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