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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The knife that just keeps twisting....

The McCain folks are trying to dampen the day by pointing out some of the slips in the Obama and Biden speeches. An Obama spokesman's response?

"RNC staffers shouldn't throw stones from their 7 glass houses."

(Twist.) That's not going away anytime soon.

Picture of the Day - 2

(AP/Alex Brandon)


So the GOP and the McCain campaign are attacking Biden....

Boy, I didn't see that coming.

Thoughts on Biden

Joe Biden is articulate and clean.

When listing Biden's qualifications, don't forget that he is beloved by the media. Sadly, that matters.

The McCain campaign launched an ad this morning against Biden, shortly before John McCain called Biden to congratulate him.

The McCain campaign had several negative ads "in the can" waiting for the announcement. One against Bayh, and presumably Kaine, too.

Biden was told Thursday.

The big story out of Iraq

The SoFA negotiations are important, but the Shia government trying to break up the US formed and funded Sunni militias is a really big deal. Today's story on the topic is from the LATimes.
An emboldened Iraqi government has launched an aggressive campaign to disband a U.S.-funded force of Sunni Arab fighters that has been key to Iraq's fragile peace, arresting prominent members and sending others into hiding or exile as their former patrons in the American military reluctantly stand by.....

This could be the sectarian conflict seriously reigniting, folks. Pay attention.

In the last week, we've also had stories on the topic by McClatchy and the NYTimes.

Picture of the Day

When the NYTimes runs this picture, with this story, and this caption, the "everyman" image is gone.

(John McCain is one of the richest members of the Senate. His wealth comes from his wife, Cindy, who inherited a $300-million-a-year beer business. (AP/Gregory Bull))

From the article,
But by all accounts, Mrs. McCain is far from a forceful presence at the company, where she is chairwoman.

She crisscrosses the country on the company jet, keeps an accountant on the company payroll to mind her personal finances, drives a company Lexus with “MS BUD” plates and says she oversees the company’s “strategic planning and corporate vision.” Yet she almost never shows up in the office, is deemed an absentee owner by Anheuser-Busch and has left scarcely a mark on the company, present and former executives say.....

Another person knowledgeable about the company’s finances said Mrs. McCain’s involvement in Hensley was more limited. “Delgado will tell her how much money they made, so she can tell him how much she’ll take out,” this person said.....

How much she receives in profits is not a matter of public record. Distributions to other shareholders, who discussed them only anonymously, suggest she receives hundreds of thousands of dollars several times a year.

Now, that's hardscrabble.

(So now the story shifts to McCain dependent on his wife?)

The Pakistani war.....

It's not getting too much coverage, but hundreds are dying in Pakistan and its various border wars.

(AP) In Afghanistan (in Herat,) the US conducted a strike that reportedly killed 30 militants and the Afghani government says killed 76 civilians.

(AP) The Pakistani military says it killed 37 militants in Swat.

(CNN) Eight die as Indian troops battle Pakistani militants in Kashmir.

(CNN) The Taleban kill 4 in two bombings in Swat.

That's a lot of violence stretching across a pretty big geographic region. As a security influence, Pakistan is collapsing.

(Probably should add this: (NYTimes) After Musharraf, U.S. Struggles to Find New Pakistan Ally Against Taliban.)

Let down

I'm sure I won't be the only one to say it, but, after a week of increasing tension and such a successful news embargo on the VP choice, it's kind of a let down that the dam broke and the text message went out overnight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3

The media outside Evan Bayh's house. (AP)

VP watch

You really have to credit the Obama campaign for keeping the secret. In these days of leaks, it's a truly astonishing demonstration of discipline that, with all the press resources dedicated to this, they've managed to keep the secret.

That said, there's rumors running around the internets about this charter flight departing Chicago Midway at 5:05 to arrive in Wilmington Delaware at 7:08. (You can track it live at FlightAware.)

And, Andrea Mitchell "reported" on Hardball that both Bayh and Kaine had received a rejection call. (MSNBC article here.)

Obama cuts ad spending in red states?

I'm going to wait and see on this one, but it could mark a shift in stance and strategy.

"House ads" - Day 2

The "house" ads have gotten better. The Obama folks came out with another one today, and the state parties are starting to run with it. This one from Florida is pretty good.

The McCain folks try to fire back with another "celebrity" ad.

(As the Rezco ad seems to have been a flail by the McCain campaign, and they've now come back to a more reasonable response, I want to point again to my post from last night on McCain's judgment. If this habit of his of emotionally overreacting occurred on the world stage, it could be a disaster.)

Picture of the Day

(Sen. Barack Obama eats an apple as he get out of the car to board the plane in Albuquerque, N.M., Monday, Aug. 18, 2008. (AP/Alex Brandon))

Iraq Sunni/Shia getting hotter, quickly

The NYTimes has a slightly different version of the Iraqi Shia government pressing the US backed Sunni militias, but the pressure is definitely there.

Maybe the bigger news is that Muthanna Dulaimi, the son of Iraqi Accord Front's leader (the main Sunni coalition) Adnan Dulaimi, was caught "red handed" planting an IED.

On Russia

The NYTimes has a very thought provoking piece on Russia, relations with the west, possible goals, geopolitical levers, etc.

I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but I promise you'll take something away from reading it.

"Regular guy....."

In the morning, McCain, who likes to get his own coffee when he’s at the cabin, assembled his nine-car motorcade for the 15-minute drive to the local Starbucks.....

McCain house snark....

Check out the WaPo's "snark" piece on McCain's houses. Page C01, but it's pretty vicious.

Pakistan wobbles....

I've probably not mentioned Pakistan enough because of US politics in the last week, but the situation in Pakistan is degenerating. The ruling coalition was joined in its anti-Musharraf sentiment, but now that he's stepped down, their differences are threatening to tear the government apart.

The Pakistani Taleban/Sunni extremists have significantly raised the violence, not only with bigger and more deadly strikes, but also with much more frequent attacks occurring across a much wider geographic swathe of the country.

It's not really clear where the powerful Pakistani military (or the ISI) is falling in all of this.

It's not yet out of control, but there seems to be no one exercising central guidance or authority.

From the US side, there is virtually no one to deal with.

The AFP has a decent catchall article, and the AP to a lesser degree. The Pakistani election commission has announced a Sept. 6 date for the Presidential election to replace Musharraf, and that may provide some direction and stability (or it may not.)

Just throwing it back into the mix as something to watch.

On McCain's judgment

Kinda getting lost today in all the foofarah about John McCain forgetting how many houses he owns is something pretty important.

Take just a minute to think about how the McCain campaign reacted to this. Wildly, out of proportion, and blasting with every gun they have.

Now take a step back into last week and remember McCain's first reaction to the Georgia/Russia flareup. Wild, reckless, and making statements that seemed to indicate he wanted some sort of military conflict with Russia.

Later in the week he calmed down, and I would guess that will probably happen here as well, but it does bring up a salient point.

Is McCain temperamentally suited for the big chair?

This is not intended to be a "slam piece," but really, quite seriously, let's imagine another Georgia like incident, or perhaps one of the many incidents in Iraq where the initial blame for an attack turned out to be wildly wrong. Would McCain jump before the evidence? Or, more broadly, would US foreign policy end up careening around his various tempers?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3 (Sometimes I just like the photo)

(Russian snipers reacted to a Georgian demonstration at a checkpoint in Igoeti, a village near Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. (Marco Longari/AFP))

Bigger if you click it.

The McCain folks go nuclear

If you want a sense of how the McCain camp is looking at this "house" thing, now they've got the outside groups trying to help them out. One group launches an ad trying to tie Obama to Bill Ayers, and another launches a website trying to tie Obama to Rezco.....

...and they both suddenly decide to spin up this afternoon.

(The campaign is also hurriedly firing out its own Rezco ad.)

The McCain camp is firing every bullet they've got right now. That should tell you how seriously they view this.

Appreciate the meta

Take just a minute to appreciate the meta here.

The McCain campaign is wildly attacking Obama over something their candidate said

McCain campaign drops the POW card to defend his houses.

No, not kidding.
He also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

Also, the Obama campaign is running with this. (Read it. It's a big commitment.) They're trying to turn this into a moment of permanent definition like "I voted for it before I voted against it," "inventor of the internet," or George Bush Sr's grocery scanner moment.

They're so sure on this, they're not trying to hide the level of effort. (Does it help with ex-Clinton voters?)

It's pretty much an "open mike" for the Dems til next Thursday.

Picture of the Day - 2

The AP has picked up the story, and all the old file photos of McCain's houses are starting to come out.

(In this Feb. 5, 2008 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain walks down a hallway in his home lined with photographs and news clippings of his career in Phoenix, Ariz. Days after he cracked that being rich in the U.S. meant earning at least $5 million a year, McCain acknowledged that he wasn't sure how many houses he and his wealthy wife actually own.(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File))

Who has a hallway lined with their own clippings?

McCain has been stung.

The Obama campaign already has an attack ad out over McCain's statement that he's not sure how many houses he owns. Good quick reaction.

But what's even more interesting is the McCain campaign's response to the ad. Tell me this doesn't sound like they're reeling.
“Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people “cling” to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?

“The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.”

Sounds like desperate flailing, doesn't it? Throwing everything and hoping something sticks.

McCain is scheduled to be out of the public eye through the weekend, although this might change things.

This really couldn't have been timed worse for McCain. It's going to last for days, and it's perfect attack dog fodder for Obama's all eyes on first VP appearance. (and it's going to carry through the convention, too.)

This might be a true disaster for McCain.

Political bits

(Politico) "Top McCain supporters will travel to Denver for counter-rallies organized by Republicans near the Pepsi Center."

(AP) A look at July spending, Obama $55 million, McCain $32 million. Obama $66 million in the bank at the start of August, McCain $21 million. (How different do these numbers look without the RNC added in? One of the McCain campaign successes has been getting the media to report his money and RNC money jointly to make the fundraising look closer than it is.)

The LATimes writes a piece on the tax plans with a graphic.

And, (Herald-Tribune) Hillary Clinton is campaigning for Obama in Florida. (Good for her. Good use of her.)

Politico headline: McCain unsure how many houses he owns

Holy crap.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.

"I think - I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told us in Las Cruces, N.M. "It's condominiums where - I'll have them get to you."

That's a bit more than a $400 haircut.

(Too bad this isn't on video.)

Picture of the Day

What has two thumbs and can't keep track of his wife's money....?

(DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

French soldiers in Afghanistan killed by friendly fire?

Definitely treat this as rumor at this point, but.....
France's Le Monde newspaper quoted French soldiers who had survived the ambush near Kabul on Monday saying they were hit in a "friendly fire" incident.

Condi Rice flies to Iraq to (re?) negotiate?

Last night, local Iraqi and US negotiators said there was a done deal on the SoFA. By this morning, Condi Rice had flown into Iraq saying, not so fast.
"The negotiators have taken this very, very far," she told reporters, "but there is no reason to believe that there is an agreement yet." .......

"There are still issues concerning exactly how our forces operate," Rice said. "The agreement rests on aspirational timelines."

Last night, the AP reporters in Iraq (Abdul-Zarwa and Robert Burns) sourced "Iraqi and US negotiators" saying the draft was done, but today's AP piece, written by Matthew Lee traveling with Condi Rice, says there is no deal yet.

So, were "Iraqi and US negotiators" overstating? Is Rice flying in to reopen talks? Or is the White House just mad that the announcement didn't come from them, taking away their ability to spin the story?

Maybe this section (from today's story) is obliquely telling us.
U.S. officials have resisted committing firmly to a specific date for a final pullout, insisting that it would be wiser to set a target linked to the attainment of certain agreed-upon goals......

Late Wednesday a second senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two sides have come up with a draft agreement that addresses the issue of the timing of future U.S. troop withdrawals, but the official would not say whether the two sides had agreed on 2011 for a final pullout. The official suggested there would be a series of timelines set, linked to conditions on the ground, and that the draft worked out by the negotiators required more talks at higher levels of the two governments.

I read that to say a hard 2011 deal was worked out in negotiations, but the White House wasn't pleased that it wasn't presented as tied to "benchmarks" and goals.

Politically, the Bush White House needs the "conditions and goals" language to salvage years of their own rhetoric as well as the positions of their party's presidential candidate.

Later: The AFP has a little more.
"We are very, very close to an agreement. But it's not done," Rice said referring to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

"Undoubtedly it's true that the negotiators have taken this very, very far towards an end-agreement but there is no reason to believe that there is an agreement," Rice told reporters travelling with her.....

"We are continuing to work to make sure that any timeline, aspirational timelines, that are in the agreement really do reflect what we believe and ... what is reasonable," she said.

Her forcing of "aspirational timelines" into her statements does sound like that timeline language is an issue.

Or, CNN. Because this seems to be written almost exclusively from the plane, I read "US official" to be Condi Rice's staff.
However, the U.S. official said there are no dates in the agreement, only general timeframes that would take into account conditions on the ground.....

The U.S. source, though, said the June 30 date is a goal, but not set in stone.

"Not a deadline, it's not a timeline," he said. "It's conditions-permitting."

(The Iraqis won't be able to pass anything that's not perceived as a deadline.)

Will the US still be paying the Sunnis?

McClatchy has a really good article on the tensions between the Shia government and the Sunnis.
A key pillar of the U.S. strategy to pacify Iraq is in danger of collapsing because the Iraqi government is failing to absorb tens of thousands of former Sunni Muslim insurgents who'd joined U.S.-allied militia groups into the country's security forces....

Also: (AP) "Top Sunnis accuse Shiite-led Iraqi troops of carrying out political arrests"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pulling out of Iraqi cities by June 30, Out of Iraq by 2011

We get word of a deal on the SoFA.
Iraqi and U.S. negotiators have completed a draft security agreement that would see American troops leave Iraqi cities as soon as June 30, Iraqi and American officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.....

In addition to spelling out that U.S. troops would move out of Iraqi cities by next summer, the Iraqi government has pushed for a specific date — most likely the end of 2011 — by which all U.S. forces would depart the country.

And, notice the language. "All US forces" would depart the country. No residual force. No anti-Al Qaeda. "All US forces."

That marks another shift off the professed US policy.

Picture of the Day - 2

I know he's not in the VP running, but one last shout out for Sen. Webb.

(Sen. Jim Webb introduces Barack Obama at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon))

(PS. Obama made something like 10 appearances today.)

Underneath the radar

One of the things that hasn't gotten much mention is the way the Obama folks are crafting their local/regional ads. The Obama people aren't pressing these statewide/regional ads because they're perceived as negative, but I do find the strategy interesting.

They're attacking McCain on local issues, DHL/jobs in Ohio, Yucca Mountain in Nevada, ties to the unpopular Ralph Reed in Georgia, etc. rather than going with a broad brush national negative campaign on character.

A couple points. 1) This allows the Obama camp to maintain a claim of positive campaigning while still scoring points in battleground states. 2) As this is below the radar, the candidate doesn't get drawn into a back and forth over the ads.

But, maybe most importantly, 3) Strategically, this sort of localized advertising really strains campaign resources. Unlike the broad, national McCain attacks, where you can kinda watch the plethora of national polls to get some sense of effect, this micromarketing requires localized state polling which is more complex and requires a lot more money to monitor.

Is the Yucca Mountain ad effective? You have to poll Nevada. DHL? Pay for a poll in Ohio. In effect, it's another way to force McCain to spend money and time on more states than he wants.

"McCain's map" is traditional, but it's also pretty tight. They can't afford to be surprised anywhere, so this sort of local marketing sets up a situation where the McCain campaign has to "chase" these ads in all these battleground states.

(It's my opinion that the Obama people still intend part of this campaign to be a war of attrition. They want the McCain folks spending everywhere because once he gets through that convention, he has $84 million and not one penny more.)

PS. I'm just trying to generate some sort of non-VP post.

On the Obama fret.......

Wake me when McCain breaks 45% in a credible poll.

Just waiting

The entire media world has ground to a halt trying to guess Obama's VP. Somewhere I read a blogger/reporter talking about one media outlet tracking (stalking) the possible VP's children to try and get a read.

This is out of control.

Picture of the Day

(Senator Barack Obama hugs a vendor after purchasing some peaches during a campaign stop at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market in Greensboro, North Carolina, August 20, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

Important stuff

Things are getting worse in Afghanistan, (NYTimes) "Taliban Escalate Fighting With Assault on U.S. Base," (LATimes) "insurgents ambushed and killed 10 French soldiers and wounded 21 in a sustained assault outside the capital."

In Iraq, Maliki's struggling to stay on top, (NYTimes) "Iraqi Government Raid Threatens to Inflame Province’s Tensions."

And, Algeria's entering it's second day of massive bombings, 43 killed yesterday, 11 more killed in two bombings today.

(I'd like to do more on each, because each of these is important, but I'm just not feeling too bloggy this morning. Maybe later.)

It's closer.....

For months I have been insisting that the Presidential race was Obama +5 to +8. While I certainly don't buy that crazy Zogby poll, McCain +5 (sure to get tons of "dog bites man" coverage,) it does appear that we're starting to get some credible polling, like the LATimes/Bloomberg, Obama +2, showing things tightening up.

So, prepare yourself, because we're about to enter another round of the "Obama fret." Unfortunately, this round will get far more coverage as it will likely be used in framing the convention.

But, just as a hypothetical, let me ask, whose campaign would you rather be in right now?

It's been my contention that the Obama campaign made a conscious decision to trim down the enthusiasm through the summer, because, really, you couldn't expect that fervor from February to extend for seven solid months.

So, the convention is intended to be the relaunch, and we'll have to see how it goes. Enthusiasm is the fuel of the Obama campaign, and now we're going to see if they are able to turn it on and off at will. We'll know a lot more in a week.

(Later: I should probably also mention that the poll movement is Obama coming down rather than a "surge" by McCain who still sits below the 45% barrier in almost every poll. Bottom line: The negative effort to raise doubts about Obama is working, but it's still not helping McCain's numbers.)


The Obama VP speculation is now blocking out everything else from the campaign.

The current fervor guarantees huge coverage of the Saturday speech, maybe that's the intention, but anything he's saying on the stump right now is being completely subsumed.

Is that what they want?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


As I noted last night, Obama has an aversion to surprises.

All the telegraphing seems to be, announcement on Friday, joint appearance on Saturday.

However, to me, a Thursday announcement would seem better.

Picture of the Day - 2

So, three guys walk into a bar.....

(Senator John McCain, former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge , and Independent Senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman ride into the arena in the campaign bus to deliver remarks in York, Pennsylvania. (AFP/Paul J. Richards))

The right wing still runs the Republican Party

Supporting the two posts below that McCain is chumming the VP waters with Lieberman/Ridge just for the attention (FoxNews)
As speculation grows around who John McCain will select as his vice presidential running mate next week, Republican National Committee officials said Tuesday that McCain is no longer considering former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

Several sources at the RNC told FOX News that in the last 36 hours, senior McCain advisers and aides have told RNC officials that McCain “got the message” last week that choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights would not be helpful.

The interesting question here is the interplay. McCain has to explain/defend himself to the RNC? Are they trying to deflect his backdown?

Lieberman as VP is ridiculous

McCain tries to suck up all the oxygen by fueling some very unrealistic talk of Lieberman as VP. It'll never happen.

First there's the issue that he's not a Republican, and, by rules, that would create lots of hurdles at the convention.

Second, although Lieberman hews to the Republican "bomb everything" foreign policy, he's way apart on almost every other issue.

But third, and most importantly, with a 72 year old candidate, do you really think the GOP would stand for Lieberman as VP? Stand for Lieberman to be the party favorite the election after McCain?

The McCain folks are just talking about this to try to steal some spotlight. That's why they "leaked" the Aug 29 date this AM.

Also, don't miss the AP calling Lieberman a "prick" in a typo.

Picture of the Day - Imaging

This is new. As careful as the Obama campaign is about imaging, I don't believe it's a mistake or happenstance that these images suddenly started popping up Monday.

"Shirtsleeve photos" are pretty common among campaigns, but this is a new effect.

I think they're trying to cast the subtextual message "getting ready for a fight" or "now we're getting serious," a visual rejoinder to all those who say he's not fighting hard enough, (but it seems a bit awkward, though, doesn't it?)

Just something to watch for.

(First photo at town hall meeting, Monday, Aug. 18, 2008, in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP/Alex Brandon) Second at the Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 18, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

Relative numbers

The McCain campaign is letting it slip that they intend to announce his VP on Aug 29, but what really caught me was this,
The campaign has begun building a crowd of 10,000 for Dayton, Ohio, according to an organizer.

Probably the biggest campaign event of McCain's year, and they're having to "build" a crowd of only 10,000? How long would it take for the Obama folks to "build a crowd" of 10,000?

(Also, McCain is really fueling speculation about Tom Ridge. This article says that McCain's first appearance with his VP is scheduled for Pennsylvania (although that could easily change,) and the Politico Playbook says "the McCain campaign has been calling key state GOP officials around the country the last couple of days and sounding them out about the consequences of a pro-choice VP pick."

My guess is that they're using the environment to try and take some limelight from the Obama campaign. The talkers would grant whole shows to "Could McCain pick pro-choice?")

And, don't miss FirstRead on McCain and Aug 29.
By the way, there are three reasons why an August 29 VP announcement for McCain could be a problem: 1) it will come as nearly every political reporter -- save those actually following McCain -- is headed on a flight from Denver to the Twin Cities; 2) it occurs at the start of the Labor Day weekend, when many Americans are probably headed to the nearest beach or lake; and 3) it’s the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Still, the upsides of picking that day: 1) it immediately forces the national press corps to turn its attention away from Obama and to McCain; 2) it steps on McCain's 72nd birthday a tad; and 3) it creates a little buzz going into the weekend of what could be one of those bad press weeks for the Republican Party, as many media outlets focus on all the Republicans NOT showing up to the convention and the Bush-Cheney opening night potential dud.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Thus far, the Obama campaign has shown an aversion to surprises.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Senator Joe Biden watches as soldiers unload humanitarian aid for refugees from the South Ossetian conflict in Georgia.(AFP/Vano Shlamov))

Rick Warren comes out of the closet

Rick Warren gives a brief "post forum" interview with BeliefNet where his feelings really come across clearly. (Start with the second question.)

Quote - POW defeats all

They will use it for anything.....
“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.

(A couple days ago, McCain personally trotted out "prisoner of war" on the stump to defend his taste for Abba.)

Picture of the Day

(Pakistani lawyers during a rally in Multan, Pakistan on Monday, Aug. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer))

The WSJ has some data on the Obama ground game.

From inside a WSJ piece on campaign finances.
The other likely reason for the Obama campaign's burgeoning expenses is the number of field offices it has opened. The campaign reports it has 131 such offices in five potential battleground states, compared to 13 reported by the McCain campaign. In Florida, for example, the Obama campaign lists 32 local offices, compared to three for Sen. McCain. In Missouri, the ratio is 29 to 1, while in New Mexico it stands at 23 to 1.

(The McCain campaign has only one office in Missouri, New Mexico?)

$7.8 million in one night?

Cal-i-for-ni-a. Obama held three back to back fundraisers to net $7.8 million in one night.

Quote - Confidence

"I will win, don't worry about that," Obama told a crowd of 1,300 people at a fundraiser Sunday night in California...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quote - A different kind of strategy

From a glowing David Broder article after a visit to Obama HQ.
But the Obama folks are not leaving it to chance. Plouffe said that "turnout is the big variable," and the campaign is devoting an unusually large budget to register scads of new voters and bring them to the polls. "That's how we win the Floridas and Ohios," he said, mentioning two states that went narrowly for George W. Bush. "And that's how we get competitive in the Indianas and Virginias..."

"That's why I pay more attention to the registration figures than to the polls I see at this time of year," Plouffe said. "The polls will change, but we know we need 200,000 new voters to be competitive in Georgia, and now is when we have to get them."

((WaPo) "Virginia has 235,976 more registered voters than it did in 2004...")

Picture of the Day

Daddy's home.

(Sen. Barack Obama steps off the plane in Chicago Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008 after a vacation in Hawaii. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon))

Maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't feel like McCain made up any significant ground during Obama's week of vacation. Opportunity missed.

TV versus people on the ground....

Reading this NYTimes piece on the Obama supporters organizing in North Carolina got me thinking..... One of the really underreported elements in this year's election is the vast gap in volunteers and "ground game" between the candidates.

The Obama campaign is spending alot of money out developing field offices trying to access their vast volunteer base across all 50 states, while the McCain camp seems "slow" in developing its field offices.

Occasionally you'll read or hear that the McCain folks are eschewing some of this ground work in favor of TV media, part as strategy, part because they just don't have the volunteers showing up.

So, here are the questions. Can McCain get away without much ground operation and a mostly TV/media campaign? In recent years, Republicans have more loyally turned out to vote, so does he need the same level of operation?

How about the return per dollar spent? What's the ratio on dollars spent in advertising versus dollars spent on the ground?

(And, as I've said many times before, it's kinda mindblowing to me that there is not one group which is passionate about a John McCain candidacy. Not evangelicals, not no-taxers, not anti-immigration, not gun lobby......)

The media bar for Obama's VP

According to the broad media consensus, Obama must pick a VP who has vast foreign policy experience, BUT, who is also an outsider and never been to Washington.

Figure that one out.

Happy Afghan Independence Day....

(Reuters) Afghans shift independence celebration to secret venue

(CNN) 7,000 extra police deployed in Afghan capital

Pressure on Musharraf

(AFP) "Pakistan's ruling coalition tightened the screw on President Pervez Musharraf Sunday, saying it would launch impeachment proceedings within two days if the key US ally does not stand down."

(AP) "Pakistan's ruling coalition took another step Sunday toward impeaching President Pervez Musharraf, finalizing the charges to be launched against the former army chief if he refuses to resign."

It sounds like yesterday's pleas for immunity by the Musharraf camp have failed.

It's also significant that the Pakistani military is staying conspicuously silent.